'Big mistake' ends Marquez unbeaten run

'It has been six amazing years here, but today I did a big mistake' - Marc Marquez falls from comfortable lead at COTA, ending hopes of seventh successive victory.
'Big mistake' ends Marquez unbeaten run

Marc Marquez's hopes of extending his unbeaten COTA MotoGP run to seven in a row came crashing down when the world champion made a shock mistake while holding a comfortable lead in Sunday's race.

Again the dominant force in practice and qualifying at Austin, the Repsol Honda star looked set to increase his title lead as he bolted to a 3.6s advantage.

But the reigning five-time champion lost the front as he turned in to the tight left-hander at the end of the back straight on lap 9 of 20, his misery compounded when he fell a second time while desperately trying to restart his RC213V.

"It has been six amazing years here, but today, I did a big mistake. Just when I arrive to the corner," Marquez said.

"I said sorry to the team, from here I say sorry to the fans, because it was my mistake. But on the other side, it's not the same making a mistake leading the race than fighting for the fifth position, for example, so the level is there.

"I tried to bump start the bike, but already the foot rest was damaged. I tried to push the bike, but the bike was not running. And then I crashed on the other side. In that moment it was hard [to accept], but in two weeks we have another race, so it's no problem.

"The positive thing is that we are only nine points behind the leader. It's true that today we did a mistake. That can happen. We are human, and the most important thing is to learn about it and understand, and try to be stronger in Jerez."

Although Marquez was quick to accept responsibility for the accident, he wasn't entirely sure what had happened.

"It was a mistake. Of course it was a mistake, because you cannot crash leading by 3.5 seconds, this was a mistake," he replied. "But it's true that when we compared the data, it was very similar to the previous lap, but when you are riding in a very constant pace, and you feel strong, it can happen.

"Yesterday we had small problems. This morning in the warm up, we fixed them. For that reason, I was riding at a very good pace in the race, I was just pushing in the beginning to arrive at the front, but then I saw already the gap, and then I slow down to 2m 4.5s, because for me, that was a good rhythm, I was comfortable there.

"But you know, sometimes these things happen, this is racing, and this is something that can happen. Disappointed, it was hard to understand, but it's like this," added the #93, who denied third place Jack Miller's suggestion that he had pushed the front tyre too hard in the early laps.

Marquez also said he didn't have any prior moments to suggest he was close to the limit.

"I didn't have any warnings during all the race, but it's true that the weekend was strange, and I couldn't work normally, nobody could work in the best way [due to the weather]. But I didn't have any warning, and I was riding in a very good way, more or less like Argentina."

Eager to look to the future, Marquez will now start the European season fourth in the world championship and nine points behind Andrea Dovizioso.

"We are only nine points behind the first guy, who is Dovizioso. I'm happy, because I'm there in the championship.

"But the most important thing is what I said. I feel like this year we have a good package, I think we have a very good level, and don't worry.

"We have enough races in front, and there will be more mistakes, maybe from me, or maybe from the others. Because the championship is very long, but it's important to learn about it. "

Might it even be a slight relief to no longer have the pressure of continuing the perfect win streak?

"No, that pressure has been during the last two or three years, so it's not a big problem. I repeat, if you crash following somebody or fighting on the last lap, you are over your limit, then yes.

"But if you crash when you have 3. 5 seconds of advantage... But racing is like this, I mean, sometimes in this sport, you have a mistake where you don't expect. So today was this kind of mistake."

A nightmare race for Honda also saw team-mate Jorge Lorenzo retire with a technical problem and LCR's Cal Crutchlow fall while fighting for second, leaving tenth place Takaaki Nakagami as the only RC213V to reach the cheqeured flag.