Marc Marquez has left the second round of the 2017 MotoGP world championship in a new place, finding himself on the back foot and no longer the boy wonder of the class for perhaps the first time in his premiere class career, after crashing out of Sunday’s Argentine Grand Prix.
The Repsol Honda rider made a gamble on an early break at the start of the race, powering well clear of the chasing pack until a mistake on only the fifth lap of the race left him down and out, knocking not only his confidence but his title chances as he slumps to his worst ever position in the standings back in eighth.
However, the Spaniard was adamant that the added pressure of having someone else in the shape of Maverick Viñales take his mantle as the hot young star of the class wasn’t part of the issue, insisting that he still remained under less pressure than he did twelve months ago when he lost the 2015 title race to Jorge Lorenzo.
“I felt more pressure last year, but you feel the pressure to be there and to be fighting for the championship, and it looks like both Yamaha riders will be there fighting for the championship, because they are really strong and very consistent. We need to work with Honda to find a better way to improve.”
However, there are some positives to take from the weekend for Marquez, with strong pace up to the crash despite a difficult weekend for rider, team and manufacturer meaning he can see light at the end of the tunnel as they continue to come to grips with the bike.
“The new bike is different, and it’s true that we’re still working hard. We started the weekend far away, worked hard, and arrived close during the warm-up, and it’ll be this way in the early races because of the character of the new engine and we have to understand the electronic base.
“I think that the bike has a good potential, we just need to find the way. But even like it is now with all these problems, Cal was on the podium and I was leading the race, so we can improve it.”