"We have one goal" - Marquez' Malaysian transformation

The Repsol Honda rider is plotting his way to a ninth world title after a successful, if gruelling, two days at Sepang

What a difference a couple of weeks can make. That’s particularly true for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as the Honda ace has gone from battling injury to eyeing up a ninth World Championship in 2022 over the space of a few short but gruelling days at the recent Sepang Test.

Flash back to one month ago, and there were still major doubts whether or not Marquez’ name would be on the entry list for the opening event of the season. The number 93 was still recovering from a diplopia diagnosis, an injury sustained during a training incident prior to the Algarve GP in 2021. It ruled him out of the remainder of that season, and there were fears it would interfere with the current one, but after putting in well over 100 laps in Malaysia, Marquez’ targets for 2022 have changed dramatically.

“Two weeks ago, my goal was not the Championship, I was injured. I wasn’t even training," said Marquez in a media debrief following Repsol Honda’s Team Presentation.

"Malaysia was the last check, that everything was ok. You always have doubts, even though the doctors said it won’t be a problem, I had doubts. In Malaysia, I said ok, I need more laps and I need to feel fresher on the bike. Especially on the second day, I felt tired."

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, Sepang MotoGP™ Official Test

Despite the fatigue, Marquez admitted that an energy-sapping two days in Malaysia has changed his expectations for the season: "I said ok, why not (think about the title)? We will start from the first race, and if you are in the Repsol Honda Team, you must fight for the Championship.

Providing everything goes to plan, it will be the eight-time World Champion’s first full season of action since 2019, when he claimed his sixth premier class crown thanks to a record haul of 420 points, but Marquez doesn’t think it’s a feat he can easily repeat, insisting the playing field has levelled since then.

"I need time. I need to improve a lot if I want to repeat. I feel like I can fight for a Championship but to win by 100 points like I did, we are very from that. Now everything is very close, the level is close between all the riders."

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, PTT Thailand Grand Prix

Entering into his 10th season with Repsol Honda, Marquez is grateful to still have the opportunity to ride with the iconic brand, saying the Japanese outfit have shown him nothing but goodwill as he battled his injury demons and that is why he committed to a longer-term deal.

"During all this time, they waited for me. In 2020, I didn’t race and then I said to them about the contract and everything to give me what they want, but they respected me a lot. This is one of the reasons I signed a four-year contract because I feel part of the family. This is how they showed that to me. It is so important, we have one spirit, and we have one goal; to fight for the Championship."

Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Yamaha Factory Racing, Repsol Honda Team, Qatar RAC

The focus now will be on the Mandalika Test this weekend, when MotoGP™ makes its debut at the Pertamina Mandalika Circuit. Three more days of track time could be just what the doctor ordered for Marquez, who seems to be reinvigorated as he sets his sights on glory during the 2022 MotoGP™ World Championship.   

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