Álex Márquez: “The Ducati is clearly better than the Honda”

One hour meeting between Álex Márquez and the press in Madrid. It has been in the vicinity of the Gran Vía and the two-time champion looks better than ever since his arrival in MotoGP, as demonstrated by his good performance in the Portimao test. There, with seventh place, he was the best of the Spanish riders. He looks already adapted to the Ducati of the Gresini team and, what is better, with a lot of room for improvement ahead.

-How much better is the Ducati than the Honda?

It’s clearly better. You just have to see the times. The Ducati are ahead, but in all aspects it has something positive. Perhaps where they are most similar is the middle of the curve, because the cornering is similar, but in how it accelerates and how it brakes it is much better. Above all, what I like is the engine. It’s smooth and has power, making your life easier.

-How do you define the difference in power between you love?

-The Honda is more aggressive and, when it starts to slip, you don’t understand it so much. The Ducati is much more predictable. With the Honda you didn’t understand what it was doing at the time.

-Apart from better performance, is the Ducati easier to ride?

-It is easier, but because it gives you more information. With the Honda you did a lap, but you did not understand why you had done it. It was all crazy. With the Ducati you feel what you are doing at all times.

– Do you see yourself in the top five already?

-On paper, for the sprint race I was fourth, two tenths off the podium, which was good, but it’s a test and there was a lot of grip on the track and I don’t know exactly where we’re going to be. On Sunday we were top 5. For the GP, the sprint race will depend a lot on qualifying, because if you start behind you are sold.

-Is Ducati the bike that works the most because it has eight bikes on the track and because you see Dall’Igna walking around all the pits?

-I would emphasize the second one more. You can have many motorcycles, but if you don’t get the maximum information out of it, it doesn’t matter if you have four or eight motorcycles. It is positive that in a test he goes through the box every noon and every afternoon, which is something that did not happen at Honda. That is important for the driver, because you feel important and you feel that they listen to you. And they suggest many ideas for improvement.

-Don’t you feel that you have too many enemies in Ducati with so many bikes on the track?

-No. I see it as you are on an equal footing and it’s nice. It’s like when I was in Moto2. On the other hand, if you are in another brand and you see that eight motorcycles are better than yours, it is uphill for you.

-Does Marc demoralized?

-(Smile). No. It is a preseason and for this they do not give points.

-Yeah, but I’ve never had him as far behind as now…

-I told him that in the sprint race I was top five and he told me: “Well, you’ll be sixth because I’ll be fifth”. (Laughter). That was his response.

-And for the conventional career of a lifetime? There is a lot of talk about the sprint race on Saturdays, but those on Sundays are worth more…

-Note that the 12 points of the sprint race are a lot of points.

-Is there more to lose or more to win in the race on Saturdays?

-Many things will happen, with pikes and touches, because it is difficult to overtake with the wings. There will be a lot of that, but there is more to be gained.

– Bonuses too?

-At the moment there is none, although Pernat is fighting for it. (Smile).

-Are the races on Saturdays a poisoned dart?

-Injuries can occur at any time. The only thing I don’t like about this format is that FP1 already counts for Q1. He would have to count only the one in the afternoon and use the one in the morning to work towards the race. Thus, from Friday morning you have to go to the knife if there is a forecast of rain for the afternoon. Otherwise, injuries are part of the job.

How are you going to handle the stress of the weekend?

-We are used to finishing the race and disconnecting, but now we have to come back on Sunday for a longer race. It will be different and maybe stressful, but the more shows, the better. More races is cooler.

-Is it the first time that you arrive at the start of the World Cup better than your brother Marc?

-On paper, yes, but it is Marc. It will go further. In preseason there are those who keep all their cards, those who teach a little and those who teach a lot.

– Do you think that Honda has saved something?

-No, but control the risks. For example, the 37.9 that Bagnaia did at the last minute, with the temperature that was there, is a high risk ten days before the start of a World Cup. It wasn’t necessary anyway.

-Do you still consider your favorite brother to win the title despite the fact that from the outside it seems that Honda has not done its homework?

-At 21 races, yes, because it is the most complete in all conditions and on all circuits. He is still the most complete as a driver. You have to have the weapons to fight because you can’t go every weekend with the hook, but it is the most complete.

-And do you see yourself in the ointment for the title?

-I like the cover up.

-Do you believe it already having a motorcycle like this?

-No, because I’m missing a point. It is true that I see myself reflected in Bastianini last year. No one expected him to be there.

-Do you see yourself doing the results of Bastianini last year?

-Not right now. He had four victories, although he missed a lot afterwards. He did very well and today I am not where he was and win four races.

-What are you looking for this year?

-Marking a goal now is difficult. We have four first races that are very interesting. If we do well in all four, it could be a great year and, from there, we can set ourselves the real goal. Now we can say top 8 or top 7 for a first year with this bike.

How has the work system changed?

-If there is a problem, nothing happens at Ducati and at first they tell you to be calm. In Japan, they would leave, a two-hour meeting and come back. Being practical in competition makes you advance. If you go slow you don’t advance. Action Reaction. The bad? That sometimes you have a lot of information and you have to know how to put everything in order.

-Do you feel that at Honda they listen less to the pilot?

-I don’t have a Ducati contract here, but they pass by the box every day, and they have already told me that I cannot leave after FP1 until Gigi (Dall’Igna) passes. That’s cool for the pilot and at Honda it didn’t happen to me.

How has your life changed with this change?

I’m much calmer. The word is calm. When things work out for you and you’re there… My assistant, José, tells me how calm I am now. Before I had a certain obsession, because things did not work out for me. Now it’s easier to do things because you enjoy on the bike.

Do you feel like shutting up a mouth?

-No no. Close my doubts and show myself that I have not forgotten to go fast. I knew that here I will have no excuse, because I have the bike and the team.

-The covering of mouths is something that was achieved a long time ago, right?

-Having Marc by your side, it is inevitable that people talk more about you and put more pressure on you. It’s something I’ve dealt with since I was little and I don’t care.

-Do the riders think that a slightly aberrational point of transformation of motorcycles with rear wings like Yamaha’s is coming?

-Could be. The aerodynamics make you have less movement of the motorcycle and make it safer. It’s easier to ride a motorcycle and that’s why there are fewer differences between riders than years ago. What we complain about is that this makes everyone go faster and that it costs more to overtake with the equality that exists.

-Is MotoGP becoming the F1 of six or seven years ago?

-It may be, the Formula 1 of the siesta. (Laughter). It’s true, before you saw the start and the end, because they were ahead in the pits, but here we don’t even have pits and many times we go by rail, on the train line. But the championship sees that, what happens is that it is not easy for everyone in the MSMSA to agree to change that. They have to hit the table and say: “So far.”

-Is talent being covered?

-In a way, yes. They are depriving us of the show, one hundred percent sure.

-Do you notice that there is less talk about MotoGP?

-Yes, but there are many more factors.

-Which is it?

-Media. The TVs. In open it was seen more. Now they are seen by those who are big fans of motorcycles. Before, even the grandmother of the village saw them because her grandchildren saw them. Now, if the father is not a fan of motorcycles, the child cannot be because he does not see it.

-And why is F1, which is also closed, seen by more and more young people?

-Because they nailed it with Netflix. The perfect year came together with Netflix and the Verstappen-Hamilton mess. That’s where they asked for it. And one example, I don’t think it’s right that the Portimao test wasn’t live.

-What do you think Marc Márquez would be capable of doing with the Ducati?

-It would go better and I would be in a very different situation, but you don’t know that until you get on the bike.

-I think the World Cup in Germany was over and the second part of the championship would be vacations around the world…

-Well, let him stay at Honda, it’s more entertaining that way, right? (Laughter).

– Do you see him one day outside of Honda?

-As of today, no. I can’t imagine Marc outside of Honda.

Do you think you will fulfill your current contract?


-Even if Honda doesn’t satisfy you?

-He speaks openly in his documentary and tells Honda that, if it is not with them, he will seek his life, but he fulfills the contract until 2024. Then it will be seen.

-Would you see him going to Ducati, because it is the best bike on the grid, or to KTM because of the relationship he has with Red Bull, which sponsors both him and the Austrian brand?

-If that bike with that sponsor is going well, why not, but if you don’t have to look for the best bike.

-Don’t you rule out seeing him one day on the Ducati?

-Neither in Ducati nor in KTM or anything, but I can’t imagine it, although in the future you never know. If he changes, it’s not for money.

-Does your brother feel a certain envy for how well he is doing?

-A bit yes and he tells me how well we are doing, but we have not talked much beyond the healthy pique either. I come from there and I know exactly what he has and he knows the position I’m in now. Without speaking you see the other person, because we know each other a lot.

-Are you asking about your motorcycle?

-Not much, because he knows I’m not going to tell him anything and so he doesn’t ask anymore. (Laughter).

-How would you see a pilots association?

-It is 100 percent necessary, because in a Security Commission when a comment from something external comes out, it is said: ‘We are here to talk about security.’ And it is totally like that, but that is why it is necessary to have it. The NBA has it, F1, soccer. It is an association, with a representative, that we have more voice, that we can look after our interests, I see it as necessary for the future. There has never been talk of all the pilots having dinner together to talk about it. It is the next step. We never agree and we don’t have a place to do it.

-Who would be the ideal representative?

-For me it does not have to be a pilot but a lawyer because there are times when we ask for something that, by contract, cannot be. Moto2 and Moto3? In the Safety Commission, many times we ask for things for them that are not seen: tires, safety. It’s been talked about a thousand times.

-For when a minimum salary?

-For example. It should, but it is what it is.

-Favorites for Portimao?

-Pecco, Quartararo, although it will depend a lot on his qualification, Jorge Martín and Marc. Those four.

-And for the World Cup?

-Three: Pecco, Fabio and Marc.

-How is living in Madrid?

-At home there is not so much difference. In the morning, it’s cycling, running… in the afternoon, gym. When I’m in Madrid, I spend a lot of time at home. I don’t feel like coming downtown much. I go more outside, by bike. I have not gone to the Bernabéu, I have gone to the Metropolitan.

-Long winter?

-Yes, but it took me longer from Malaysia to Portimao, between the tests.

-How many zeros are worth to win the title?

-With the sprint race, four. Two in the race and two in the sprint.

-MotoGP is an Italian Cup?

-People say that it is the Italian Cup, with Ducati and Aprilia. And when were the Japanese? They have put the batteries and they have passed them.

-Have you given any advice to Rins?

-No. I have wished him luck. With the mechanics we have pique; not with him

-Will Mir and Rins suffer in Honda?

-Don’t know. So far they are doing quite well. Let’s see when the falls and such start to arrive. That’s where that bike takes away your confidence and it’s where it costs more.

-What do you like about what’s coming in Moto2 and Moto3?

-The one who right now… is Acosta, from what he has shown. Then Izan Guevara and Alonso (López) can come. Guevara a little more than Alonso, but Alonso can also do very well this year. From below, Rueda, who goes up, let’s see how he does it, David Muñoz, Moreira…

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