Marc Márquez was proclaimed MotoGP World Champion for the sixth time at the Thai Grand Prix, pursuing victory in the race until the final corner despite the title being his with second position. For Alberto Puig, that ambition is the key to the constant progress both of Márquez and the Repsol Honda Team, and the goal is to maintain that dynamic in the four remaining races of 2019.
What was the strategy for the Thai race?
“The strategy for Marc was to try to do the same race; try to pull away early and see who would come with him. It was clear that Quartararo would be there until the end as he had a very good pace. But Marc played his cards well, holding when he needed to and he was able to fight and take another exciting win in the last corner. I think he was very clever, trying to do the same as in the last race, forcing Quartararo to brake late and take the inside line. It was a perfect manoeuvre. The important thing was getting the title, but we knew Marc wanted to win too. So finally the strategy was modified by the rider because he is a champion who is hungry for victory.”
Positives points and negatives points after the race?
“The positive is clear and it’s that we won the title. All the people involved in this project are happy because we are again World Champions. It’s not a day to talk about negative points, only to talk about what Marc achieved and to enjoy this moment with those who have helped us get here.
Regarding the Constructor and Team Championships, it’s not over yet. For the Team Championship we have gained a lot of points back and there’s still a lot which could happen. We are looking more comfortable in the Constructor Championship, but this does not mean we slow down in the slightest. We hope that Lorenzo can also help towards these titles.
The strategy now is win, win, win and win because we have four races remaining. This is the best way to progress and keep focused, by thinking of this target. Marc and Honda, at least mentally, are always trying to achieve this goal. Of course we can approach each weekend in a slightly more relaxed way because the title is decided, but we have the same goal each race.”
The view from pit wall during race?
“It’s fair to say that Fabio Quartararo was a strong opponent for Marc to face. At the end it is true that the race was a little bit tighter than we were maybe expecting, but you could see that both riders understood the limits. Sometimes in a group of riders you can find a lot of chaos, but in Buriram there were two fast riders who knew the limits of their bikes. In the last corner Marc forced Fabio to brake late, similar to last year here. The manoeuvre was very smart, he was out of danger.”
Honda arrive in Motegi as champions.
“I think for all the Japanese Honda fans to welcome the new champion is something great. In past years we have won the title there, this time it is the opposite and we arrive with it. I think it’s very important and we will celebrate at home.”