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Highlights: Magical Marquez takes MotoGP™ crown in style
The scenario seemed almost impossible when the paddock touched down at the Twin Ring Motegi. Jorge Lorenzo had to finish on the podium – and Valentino Rossi had to score a single point. And yet, Motegi 2016 goes down in history as the first time in all their years as teammates that the two Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders have both crashed out of a race.
With Marc Marquez in the lead as Rossi fell and Lorenzo then following suit in the latter stages of the race, the Repsol Honda rider only had to manage the gap back to Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) to cross the line and win the 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship. Several heart attacks later after it sunk in, Marquez did just that – taking his third premier class crown in four years, and his fifth world title.
Marc Marquez (P1 – World Champion): “When I saw Rossi out I thought ‘ok, the old style can come back and I’ll go for the victory!’ Then Lorenzo crashed and I missed a lot of gears when I realized what it meant - I went through one corner in third when it was meant to be first, and another in third instead of fifth...When I crossed the line I didn’t expect any T shirts or anything, but they believed in me so it was ready! On the start line Santi said to me ‘please don’t push for the victory’, but I felt good so I did…I think the best party is the one you don’t expect, so we’ll start in the box…and see where we end up.”
From a tough pre-season, Marquez’ mentality for 2016 had a revamp – and the ‘new’ MM93 was very different to the old. Concentrating on points and consistency, the Spaniard managed the pressure throughout the year.
MM93: "The start of the season was the most difficult, and maybe the most difficult in my career. After the first two wins it was difficult because when you’re leading the Championship you can afford to finish second or third. It was a big price I paid – losing a title last year – to learn what I know now. I felt more pressure this year and it was hard to manage throughout the season.
"I learnt a lot following Valentino in Montmelo, because he knows the Michelin tyres very well. That was the first time I’d followed him for many laps and I saw a few things..."
"We made a lot of progress and now we have a competitive bike. I learnt a lot following Valentino in Montmelo, because he knows the Michelin tyres very well. That was the first time I’d followed him for many laps and I saw a few things. When we started the second half of the season after Germany, I started to become more nervous but my team told me 'please, stay calm, stay calm because Aragon is soon!' When we got there we knew that was the weekend to win again, a key point in the season. When the team keep the same mentality as you, everything is easier.
"Today everything was normal. I got up and had breakfast at the same time – everything the same and I was very relaxed. Jose told me what would have to happen for me to win and I said 'forget that, we’ll concentrate on Australia.'
"When Rossi was overtaking me I decided 'ok, I don’t want this battle. I have to go.' So I did, and then I was trying to manage the gap back to Jorge. Then when I saw Lorenzo out I made some mistakes, but I saw Dovizioso was coming so I realised 'ok, we have to go!' Every year you give your best – but the pressure this year was really high, especially at the start of the year. The end of last year was hard. I felt more pressure - but also extra motivation. From Thursday to Sunday, I was just focused on the bike. That was the key."
"Champions can take the pressure. I paid a high price last year - but I learnt from it."
Marquez on becoming 2016 MotoGP™ World Champion