Marc Marquez has admitted going into this weekend’s penultimate round of the 2017 MotoGP championship at the Malaysian Grand prix that this season has been made more difficult thanks to the challenge posed from battling a new title rival.
Shocked like many others by the pace all season of Andrea Dovizioso on the factory Ducati machine, the Repsol Honda rider says that despite his experience, it poses a whole new challenge to him going up against someone who is under much less pressure to succeed than the reigning champion.
“He is a different competitor, with a different mentality. Especially the mentality of Dovi, it is something where I learn many things from him. Because every rider, every opponent is different, with some weak points and some strong points. But Dovi was really quiet and was always doing his job. For example - of course in Australia he did a few mistakes - but he never went outside of 'his style'. He kept his style, finished the race and did his 100%. It's something that he's been doing really good this year.
“But the hardest thing is fighting with someone that doesn't have - I mean, he has pressure, but not the same pressure. Because if Dovi wins the championship; amazing season. If he finishes second; amazing season. For both Dovi and Ducati. So it's hard because you can feel when you speak with journalists, with people. It's like you can lose the championship and he can only win. You know what I mean? It's something interesting and something you need to manage!”
Yet despite that, Marquez says he isn’t planning on changing his approach as he takes the fight to Dovi at the circuit where the Italian rider recorded his first win in seven years twelve months ago, kicking off the winning streak that took him to title contention.
“It's a big weekend, a different weekend! In the end I will try to approach it the same and try to push 100%. But now there are only two races remaining. Of course I've opened up a big advantage, but you can lose it in the same way.
“It's something that's inside my head and I will try to be with the same mentality, but then on Sunday we will try to manage to the risk. But I don't want to be focussed or stressed that I need to win here: I need to take points here and try to be champion here or Valencia. That has been the target since the first race.”