'More engine, less risk' - 'Different' Marquez wins Le Mans

'The brake point means risk. Now I find the lap time in a different way' - Marc Marquez, French MotoGP.
'More engine, less risk' - 'Different' Marquez wins Le Mans

A more powerful Honda engine combined with 2019 chassis tweaks have allowed MotoGP champion Marc Marquez to end his dependency on 'risky' late braking.

The difference, he explained, was evident in his use of the softest front tyre for a third victory of the season at Le Mans on Sunday.

"I'm happy because it's the first time [this season] that we raced using the soft front tyre, but this year we are able to ride in two or three different ways," he said.

"Last year we just tried to find the lap time on the brake point. This year maybe we lose a little on the brake point, but we gain in other areas and this is the right way because always the brake point means risk. And risk means it's difficult to be constant.

"Now we are able to find the lap time in another area. I'm able to use different tyres and different riding style.

"It's because we have more engine [performance]. And when you have more engine - now I understand the way to ride last year of Dovi and Jorge. I mean, you can try to manage in a different way.

"I can ride like last year [late braking] or I can ride in a different way. And this gives me the confidence to be so constant.

"There are still some weak points, some strong points, but one of the different points against Ducati was the engine and this year we have a better engine so that gives me the confidence to ride in a different way and to find the lap time in a different way.

"Last year I was very strong in the qualifying, maybe now a little bit less, but I'm stronger in the race pace."

Marquez took on the Ducatis of Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller in the early stages of the grand prix, before easing to a 1.9s victory over the other GP19 of Andrea Dovizioso.

"Today was a nice nice fight at the beginning with both Ducatis, Petrucci and Miller. My target was try to lead the race because even on the warm-up lap I felt really good and I thought, 'OK, the pace will be there'.

"I was riding in a very good way, just two moments with Danilo and Miller, but apart from that I understand the tyres and I understand the bike.

"If you brake late and you go in with too much speed, you overheat [the front]. And if you follow other riders, you overheat the front. For that reason today I tried to lead the race from the beginning, find fresh air and ride smooth.

"When I tried to push in '32 low I was able. The last sector is where I felt stronger because there were no hard braking points and I just took the risk in the corners, not on the brake point because that is more dangerous."

But while Marquez celebrated Honda's milestone 300th victory in the premier-class, he was the only Honda rider in the top eight, suggesting the new-style RCV is not to everyone's liking.

"I don't care about the other Hondas or my team-mate, just my target is to try to be in the top positions," he shrugged. "And I know that my group inside the Repsol Honda team is working in a very good way.

"HRC is giving me all that I need and we are improving step-by-step. Of course we can always have a better bike, but it's racing and it's important to understand that sometimes you will have some strong points and some weak points.

"But when you see the everybody gives their 100% and then you ride in a good way on the bike…. I cannot answer the question because I don't know what happened to the other Hondas, but I know that in my garage I feel really good."

Despite a DNF in Austin, Marquez is now eight points clear of Dovizioso heading into the Italian Grand Prix at the end of this month.

However, the next best Honda rider (LCR's Cal Crutchlow) is only seventh in the standings.