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“Marquez’ success is his consistency.”
That’s what the new Team Manager for the Repsol Honda Team, Alberto Puig, told motogp.com when asked for the secret of the Cervera native’s success ahead of the Sepang test. “Whatever happens: rain, snow, whether he’s ill, if the bike is working well or not...he’s always there.”
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Puig: “Marquez and Pedrosa need to be treated differently”
Puig, in his first interview since being confirmed in the post, says that marks the difference between Marquez – who has taken four premier class titles in five years – and the rest: “He saves difficult situations; he gets results when everything has been a disaster. Psychologically he doesn’t cede ground, and he’s very ambitious.”
The new team boss then goes on to talk about Dani Pedrosa - Marquez’ teammate and a three-time World Champion - and references the innate talent and ability of the former 125 and double 250 World Champion.
“He has innate talent,” says Puig. “His greatest asset is the way he can go fast on a bike. Whether he can put that into practice every weekend is another story, and that’s what he has to work on. But I don’t remember many other riders with a level of talent like that of Dani.”
Puig, who says in the first part of his interview that he doesn’t believe in the idea of a number one rider and a number two rider, is the man credited with discovering Pedrosa during his early forays into talent promotion – something that has defined Puig’s recent career as he worked with Dorna on the Road to MotoGP™ program.
“In the last few years at Dorna, there has been a great campaign of promotion at all levels. We’ve invested a lot in Asia, which was done in conjunction with Honda. Step by step we’ve been finding riders. When this new job came up, we decided that to move away from that wouldn’t be fair or right, so I’ll stay in control of that.”
But now, it’s a new era. So after analysing his riders, the question of rivals is next on the agenda. With Honda having won the Riders’ Championship and Constructor’s Championship in 2017 and Repsol Honda having been the best-scoring team throughout the season, Puig says his focus is inward – but he does have an eye on the competition.
“I don’t worry too much about how Yamaha start the season,” says Puig of the factory who dominated 2017 testing with Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). “It’s out of my hands. Yamaha are a point of reference, an impressive marque with a lot of experience.” And the rest? “Last year Ducati made an incredible step forward. KTM, from drawings and plans, made a bike that went well. From a technical point of view, the Championship is incredibly interesting.”
Pushed further on the topic of Borgo Panigale and asked if Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) showed the potential of the Ducati last year, Puig says no. Why? “Dovizioso showed his own potential, which was hidden. The bike was there; a bike doesn’t make such a huge leap forward from one season to the next. Dovizioso made a step forward psychologically, but he also showed his teammate that the bike can win races. Now it’s Lorenzo’s turn to take that baton and win races.”
On Lorenzo, when asked if the five-time World Champion can fight for the title with Ducati, Puig is pragmatic. He says if the Mallorcan can understand the Ducati, he could - but “it remains to be seen if he can. For his sake, I hope he does. But for us, that would be a problem…”
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