Marquez’s unnatural new approach was sad but right – The Race

That Marc Marquez’s British Grand Prix weekend did not end in glory is hardly a new development for the six-time MotoGP champion’s 2023 season, given that he has only scored 15 points so far and none of them have come on Sundays.

That it contained not a hint of glory, or even the intention of glory, was most unusual.

Perhaps it was already foreshadowed on Thursday, when Marquez admitted that his approach to the previous period of the season was not correct, that he had aimed too high – and that he was arriving at Silverstone anyway with lingering injuries, namely to his right ankle and right foot.

Given the conditions, though, you’d expect Marquez to put all those thoughts to the side, push himself forward in the rain and come forward in at least one of the races – even if that would potentially be followed him dusting the gravel trap at Stowe, having holed up in a blaze of glory.

Instead. Marquez did end up on the ground on Sunday – not on the gravel but on the tarmac between Maggots and Becketts – but it wasn’t a crash from over the limit. Rather, it was a strange impulse on the back of Enea Bastianini’s Ducati as the rain began to fall at Silverstone.

Bastianini said that Marquez simply ran into the back of him, Marquez felt it was “a very unfortunate situation” caused by the Ducati man making a mistake, while Marquez himself deliberately ran a less than optimal line in corner.

The available footage doesn’t make it particularly clear one way or the other, but it does point to a small, random accident – ​​although it may have caused Bastianini himself to crash (from the damage caused) a few laps later, and also by somehow, the second confusing example of Marquez running into the back of Bastianini in two laps.

It didn’t bother Marquez much, by any means, because points don’t seem to matter this season. “I’m happy about my weekend and I’m happy about this Sunday,” he insisted to

“I think we drove in a good way and [had a] good approach.”

Impressively, he pushed hard on this sentiment.

Out in Q1 (although he probably should have been in if not for losing time behind teammate Joan Mir on his final lap), he found the sprint race hopeless enough that he deliberately dropped behind Mir to observe things and was quite restrained in the race – admittedly not helped by the timely take-off contact of one of the winglets – before a clumsy retirement. What the hell was there to be happy about?

“I’m happy because I’m only looking at myself. I’m looking to try and rebuild my confidence on the bike.

“I had zero accidents over the weekend – OK today on Sunday I crashed but it wasn’t an over the limit collision.

“I had more but I don’t want to use them now. Because having that extra, then it’s a big risk.

“It’s a different mindset now, of course. But I must go on like this. if not…”

Marquez backed off after saying that, instead changing his line to “we have to find a base to build our future on.” The logical conclusion of this sentence would be “if not, I’ll just keep hurting myself.”

On the same (websites) earlier this season, I had berated Marquez for pushing too hard when it was an option to settle for decent results. That’s no longer an option now, Honda’s situation has seemingly worsened, but with that earlier argument in mind, it would be logically inconsistent to treat Marquez’s latest admission with anything other than an “oh… well, fair enough.”

There was perhaps a touch of his dramatic decision to stay behind Mir on Saturday. But, well, things are bad, and Marquez breaking a key while chasing sixth place, or blowing away a rival while running higher than his race pace realistically allows in the long run, wouldn’t help anyone.

Anything more than the most fleeting of hits seems to be unavailable at the moment. The Sachsenring lap proved as much, drowning out the romantic view of Alex Rins’ surprise victory at the Circuit of the Americas earlier this season.


Marquez’s insistence publicly is that this way is the best way to help Honda. Stay in shape, ride about 80% (actual number may vary), collect as much data as you can, observe as much as you can, try what you need to try – and, in the absence of concessions, do it on race weekends because THAT has more value by five or six points more.

“Of course if I feel good some weekends I will try to push. But this weekend from the beginning I felt a bit strange, and also physically I was not 100%.

“Well, for that reason I was very calm in wet conditions, I was very calm on Friday, I was calm today in the race, I didn’t push too much. Of course I was pushing but not 100%.

“Then we’ll see in Austria. If we feel the same way… I mean, go with your gut.

“Of course there will be more accidents [at some point]. We’re racing.”

Privately, you have to wonder if Marquez is particularly careful to allow these extra accidents in Honda colours.

It seems likely that he will remain in place for 2024 – he has not publicly expressed any other possibility at Silverstone, although his ‘I have a contract’ wording may have left the door ever so slightly ajar.

Mark Marquez

But he’s set to be a free agent in 2025 anyway – and it makes sense to minimize injury risk between now and then.

The quality of what Honda has in store for 2024 will change the math on this one, one way or another. But before the first real indication of that comes at the Misano test in September, and there’s so much to do in between.

With Marquez pushing 100%, even if he crashes, Honda’s performance is at least average. When it’s not, the RC213V looks awful. The only other rider who has dragged it into respectability this year is not just out with injury, but retiring in 2024.

Some heroics from Marquez could really make things a little more pleasant for Honda right now. And, in football parlance, anyone could be forgiven for wanting to see a bit of ‘battle for the badge’ from him right now. But there are six extra championship stars on that proverbial mark thanks to Marquez – and while he would clearly be risking Honda glory, he won’t be risking Honda respect.

#Marquezs #unnatural #approach #sad #Race

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