Marc Márquez is fighting it out at the top of the MotoGP standings as we reach a third of the way through the 2016 campaign. The Repsol Honda rider spoke to RedBull.com to give us his thoughts on how this season is unfolding, and on the recent unfolding of the 2017 rider line-ups…
It’s been a strange season so far. New tyres from Michelin, new electronics. What’s been the biggest challenge?
At the moment we’re managing quite well, we’re only five points behind Lorenzo, but it will be a difficult season.
The tyres are the same for everyone, but you have to work on the chassis in order to get the tyres working well. Then you have to work with the engine to ensure the electronics function well, and this is perhaps a bit more complex for us because we have a new engine, with the crankshaft rotation reversed for the first time on the Honda.
So there are a few things that have caused us a little difficulty, and the pre-season was especially so.
The tyres remain a bit of a mystery, at least from the outside looking in. Before Jerez there were a lot of crashes in practice and the race, then at Jerez just two, before more at Le Mans. Why?
Yes, at Jerez there were less crashes because the front tyre isn’t stressed as much. At Jerez the rear was sliding more too, so you could push to a certain point. At Le Mans there were again many crashes in the race. Michelin is working hard, every circuit has a different tyre, and of course depending on the different circuits one tyre may be better for one particular manufacturer.
And when will things be more consistent, in terms of understanding the tyres?
For me, next year. Perhaps it’ll be after the summer, with Brno and other races. I think we’ll be better, or at least will always be on the same or similar tyres each race. For now it’s normal Michelin continue to work and test them out, because there wasn’t a lot of off-season testing, even for them.
You’ve said yourself that sometimes it’s better to settle for third than to crash out. Despite that, it seems you’re still pushing hard and riding in the same way you always have.
The problem’s that if I don’t ride in my own style, I’m a second behind Lorenzo and Valentino. I could ride smoothly too, but I’d lose a few tenths of a second every lap. If I want to keep up there with the Honda, I have to push hard, at least for the moment.
There have been some big announcements recently with regards to next season’s rider line-ups. What are your thoughts?
It’ll be nice for the show, and to see what riders can do when they’re on new motorcycles. It’ll also help to better understand the potential of the bikes and riders. As for Honda, it’s a great team and the best solution was continuity.
Which manufacturer has made the best choice?
I think Ducati’s done a good job. They’ve produced a bike that, bad luck and unfortunate incidents aside, is consistently at the front, and now they’ve signed the world champion.