2010 Preseaon Interview
After a supposedly pre-season of transition from KTM to Derbi, Marc Márquez has surprised both his own and others with an extraordinary performance from the first day.
The Repsol rider took no time getting to grips with his new machine and ended the winter tests smashing the Jerez record and setting a pace that puts him among the favourites in 125cc. With just one week before the World Championship starts and at just 17 years old, the Cervera rider faces his third World Championship with the excitement of the first day and the experience of the hard work done over the last few months.
You finished the pre-season very strong, heading the timesheets and beating records held for many years. Are you surprised with your performance, considering that you’ve changed machine, team and that this will only be your third year in the World Championship?
Marc Márquez: "It does surprise me a little, more than anything because from the first test, I felt very comfortable with this machine. More than expected and that helped. However, I did expect to be among the first five or six, but finishing so many tests first and feeling so good with the team and the machine, I didn’t expect at that all."
You were often put among the favourites and both Emilio Alzamora and you asked for calm. With the pre-season you’ve had, I’m sure that there’ll be more than one bet on you. Do you think that you can be among the favourites?
Marc Márquez: "It’s difficult to be in the front pack in all races but that’s what we have to work to do during the season. Our wish is this: be in the front pack in all races and fight for the podium, but we know that we won’t be able to do it in every race and that if we want to reach the end of the year with options to fight for the title, I have to have a consistent year and take it patiently. My wish and the team’s is to be there."
How would you sum up your pre-season?
Marc Márquez: "I think we’ve had some very complete tests, except in some cases when the weather wasn’t on our side. However, I think we’ve had a well planned pre-season, trying many things, everything that Aki [Ajo], the team manager, had thought of. I’ve always wanted to try different things, more than anything to get to know my riding style and be able to plan for problems in the future. To tell you the truth, I felt very comfortable with the team and with the machine and we’ve only had one fall in the twelve days, which is always a good thing."
How did you find working in the new team?
Marc Márquez: "It’s a group of very calm people, who work very methodically and steadily, and that’s something that’s helped me a lot because sometimes, I was too eager to get out on the track and they told me I couldn’t because the track was very cold and it was too risky. This experience has helped me a lot because that’s how you learn."
Did you find it difficult to adapt to a different machine, like the Derbi RSA 125?
Marc Márquez: "I adapted really well from the first test and I saw that it was competitive, with which I could fight to be in the front pack, because it’s a bike that gives me a lot of confidence. From the outset I adapted well, after all it’s a bike, but compared to the KTM it’s better in all aspects."
What most surprised you about this machine? What is its best quality?
Marc Márquez: "Everyone told me about the engine, about how good it was but I was most surprised by the chassis because it gives you a lot of confidence and if you want to push the machine a bit harder, it lets you. Obviously, the engine is very good but it wasn’t such a big surprise because everyone had told me that it was, so I almost expected it."
The Derbi seems bigger than the KTM; is it? Is it more physically demanding?
Marc Márquez: "No, the KTM was a little more demanding because you always had to ride it to the limit to keep up with the rest and set good times. The Derbi is more comfortable and it allows you to make a mistake or two. The machine is longer and the riding position is also more comfortable."
As you can’t ride the speed bike over the winter, you do motocross, supermotard, enduro, and this year, you even rode on ice. How do you think each speciality helps you?
Marc Márquez: "More than help a specific aspect of the speed bike, it helps you not to lose contact and to keep the sensations of speed and braking. It helps you keep fit and in some cases, it does help you improve control of the bike. They are completely different bikes but it’s the closest training to what we do."
A question that I’m sure you’re still asked; how much do you weigh and what ballast do you carry?
Marc Márquez: "I weigh 57 KG, 65 KG with the suit and helmet and the overall weight is 140 KG, so I no longer need to add anything."
Last year, you fought very hard, always fighting head to head. Considering how much you’ve shot up over the winter; will it be easier this year?
Marc Márquez: "Yes, because I’ve grown a bit over the winter and I’ve filled out and that always helps. But really, more than my body, what will help will be the machine because as I said, the Derbi’s chassis goes really well. One of its advantages is that on entering the turns it’s very rigid and that helps when you want to brake harder to overtake another rider."
What does it take to win a World Championship race?
Marc Márquez: "I couldn’t tell you because I’ve never won one but I’m sure that if you have a very complete weekend, going for it from the first practice, you’ll do it in the end. Luck also plays a part but you have to feel happy with the machine, be focused in the practices, work the race pace well and once you’re out in the race, try to open a gap. That would be ideal, but in 125cc there are usually groups, so you have to know how to plan the race well for the last few laps."
And to win a World Championship, what does it take?
Marc Márquez: "Whew! Experience, consistency, a lot of things that I didn’t have last year and from which we’ll try to learn in order make the most of them this season. You need a good machine, a good team, you need to prepare well, work hard and even have a little luck on your side. And above all, always think about the machine."
You have been competing in the World Championship for two years, with KTM. With this background and switching to Derbi, where do you see yourself this season?
Marc Márquez: "After the pre-season, I feel confident that I can be in front and hope that I can win races, although we’ll see what happens when we get to Qatar because it could be more difficult. You don’t score points during the pre-season, so we all start at the same level. Personally, I think I’m prepared to be in the front group but we’ll see if we can fight to win and for the championship because I’m still one of the youngest of those fighting to be up front."
After seeing your pre-season tests, what does Emilio Alzamora say to you?
Marc Márquez: "He told me not to think that it’s going to be easy because until now, we’ve ridden at circuits like Valencia or Jerez, which are the ones I know best and that when we get to circuits like Qatar, where I’ve only ridden once, I’ll probably find it a bit more difficult. We’ll have to try to keep up the consistency and he said that we should try to take it step-by-step, without trying to go too fast, keeping calm."
A wish for the year?
Marc Márquez: "You don’t tell wishes…"
Your village is so happy with you that they’ve made you a chocolate "mona de pascua" for Easter weighing 35 KG that is a reproduction of your bike, have you tried it?
Marc Márquez: "No, not yet, because it’s on display. I don’t know if we’ll eat it because it’s a work of art, but if we keep it, it might go off because I don’t know how long all that chocolate can last. Perhaps we’ll get our teeth into a handle or brake lever before we go to Qatar!"