Christina Bulpett |
Picture: GeeBee Images
Marc Marquez’ struggles with both fitness and the Repsol Honda continued at Le Mans with a sixth place finish in the FrenchGP.
The eight-time champion fully admits the position was complimented by the crashes around him, with both the factory and LCR riders suffering with the same issues on the 2022-spec RC213V, alongside Marquez’ continuing battle to regain full strength in his shoulder and arm following his 2020 injuries.
“I already said yesterday that our position today in a good race was between fifth and seventh,” Marquez admitted on Sunday night. “We finished sixth – was not the real position. The real position was ninth but three riders crash in front of us, but okay is part of the race, part of the game.
“We did a solid race in our pace, is true that the race was too long. I mean, in the end, I felt tired, and I wasn’t able to push more but, okay, let’s see. Keep working, keep pushing, this is the best way to improve for the future.”
When questioned on if the new bike or his fitness was most to blame for the Spaniard’s troubles he insisted it remains a combination.
“Was everything,” Marquez confirmed. “The bike is not working in the best way, because suffering and not riding like I want, even like this I finished the first Honda but is not the target.
“My target is finish in the top of the podium and we are far. We need to keep working. Try to understand the situation, try to understand the problems and try to fix for the future.”
Sitting tenth in the championship standings, on 54 points after seven races, Marquez is 48 behind leader and reigning MotoGP Champion Fabio Quartararo, with two-thirds of the calendar still to run.
“Only?,” he joked when hearing the gap to the Yamaha rider. “No, the championship?
“We cannot think about the championship. We are finishing the best race in fourth position and we are suffering to finish in sixth/fifth so we cannot think about recovering points.
“Even I don’t feel well on riding, I don’t feel well with the bike. Okay, some tracks I’m fast, following somebody but I don’t feel I’m riding in a good way. Of course, we will try to improve for the future and my target is fight with the top guys but now, we are too far. In Portimao we finished 15 seconds more or less, Jerez 15 seconds more and here 15 seconds more from the top guys. So still long way to improve.”
So what does the 29-year-old need to turn his season around?
“Ha! This is the interesting [question]” he answered. “It’s true that Honda is working to try to improve the bike because more or less all Honda riders are struggling in the same point.
“The problem for me is clear where we are losing, since the preseason I give the same comment and is there where we need to understand better. Another side is myself, try to improve. I will work hard and I will try to improve my skills also, is the way to fight with the top guys.”