MotoGP

Marquez: 'Dream team' means triple crown…

Marc Marquez feels 'loved' at Honda, but says they can't be called a 'dream team' unless they win the MotoGP triple crown this season.

Jorge Lorenzo's arrival alongside Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda this season was soon labelled as a MotoGP 'dream team'.

But while reigning five-time champion Marquez is again leading the standings after six races, triple MotoGP champion Lorenzo is yet to finish inside the top ten.

Asked about the 'dream team' tag and whether the contrasting results at Repsol Honda mean people now appreciate his success more, Marquez replied:

"I always feel very good in Honda," he said. "Even sometimes when I take a podium - of course at Honda if you don't win, you don't achieve the target. But always I feel like they appreciate a lot all of our efforts and all our work."

Nonetheless, unless Lorenzo can start scoring bigger points it will be hard for Repsol to meet Marquez's definition of a 'dream team'.

"At the moment the team-mate [Lorenzo] is struggling a bit and I already said in the winter, when people spoke about a 'dream team'. Jorge sometimes also said 'dream team'. But I said, 'a dream team is when you finish the season and get the triple crown'.

"That is a dream team. So at the moment we are good in the riders' championship and manufacturers' championship, but in the [teams] we are a little bit far."

Honda won the triple crown of riders', teams' and constructors' titles for the past two seasons with Marquez and former team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

But while Marquez heads the riders' standings by twelve points and Honda is narrowly on top of the constructors' championship, Repsol Honda lags 51-points behind Mission Winnow Ducati in the teams' table.

"We are working and Honda is working to improve the bikes so all the Hondas riders are able to be fast and at the top," Marquez said.

In contrast to recent suggestions that Marquez may want Honda to focus more on supporting their fastest rider, following Lorenzo's recent visit to HRC headquarters in Japan, the Spaniard said:

"I feel proud to be in Honda and what they show to me is that they feel very, very happy to have me in Honda.

"I love them, they love me! For a relationship, it's the best way!"

While Lorenzo is yet to achieve the kind of results expected at Honda, over at the LCR team Takaaki Nakagami was an impressive fifth last time at Mugello.

The Japanese is the only Honda rider on the 2018 bike, but it is rumoured he may get to try the 2019 machine as soon as the Monday test.

The engine freeze rule means Nakagami will have to keep the 2018 spec engine for the rest of this year, but Marquez believes the current 'no pressure' strategy is the right one.

"Nakagami is improving a lot and, don’t worry, the moment Honda see that his level is ready, he will have a factory or nearly factory bike. Because a Japanese manufacturer want a Japanese rider too," Marquez said.

"But I think to work in the way that Nakagami is working is the best for him. Because then he doesn't have pressure. As soon as you get a factory bike you have the pressure, because you have exactly the same bike like the other guys and you need to be there. If you miss the result then you don’t have any excuse.

"But he is doing a great job and I think step-by-step he will arrive.

"Nakagami has a very strong point that is in the fast corners, he is unbelievably fast. I think he is the fastest Honda. For example, last two corners here he's very, very fast. These kind of corners.

"So yeah it's a different riding style that also has some weak points, but anyway he is working in a good way and it looks like with the new engine in our bike we have some good things but in some tracks also it looks like the other bike - that is a 2018 championship winning bike - is not bad."

Marquez was speaking after Friday practice for this home Catalunya round, where he was fastest in the morning session, then slipped to 17th (+0.9s) in the afternoon after electing not to fit a new soft rear tyre.

The #93 explained he had changed his strategy slightly to try and ensure he makes the right tyre choice on Sunday.

"In Mugello it didn't work like I want and I focussed too much on the hard-hard and then after the race I realised that maybe a different tyre was better," Marquez said.

"So for that reason I changed the strategy and when everybody was with the soft front in the morning I was with the medium. And when everybody was with the medium in the afternoon, I was with the soft front.

"It’s the strategy inside the box [because] in Mugello basically we misunderstand something and Qatar too. And in Qatar and Mugello we had the same allocation of front tyre, more-or-less.

"So it's time to understand and basically we change the strategy because of the allocation of the tyres, to get more information. Not for any other reason.

"Tomorrow of course we will start to put all the best things that we try. We had two different bikes, with two different set-ups and two different tyres. This afternoon I didn't put the new tyre, but even like this with a used medium I did '40.9, that is not bad."

Marquez may have been able to go faster had he not suffered a technical issue in the afternoon.

"Yeah was some issue and then it takes times to fix the problem and of course it's something I don’t like but you need to understand.

"Santi was speaking with me because I was getting more and more nervous and he knows me, when I get nervous is when I go out on the track and then the fairings go down!

"But I was just calm… of course all the time on track is important, but the positive thing is that we did three laps with one bike, three laps with another one and more-or-less we understand.

"The problem is fixed, it was just a new part, there was something strange there but not any mechanical problem. It was more from the manufacturer."

Lorenzo was 14th fastest on combined Friday times.

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