Alberto Puig, Repsol Honda Team Manager, reviewed the weekend in Austin for Marc Márquez, who returned from injury and made a thrilling comeback, and Pol Espargaró, who had a very difficult GP due to stomach problems.
Marc Márquez put together an amazing performance in Austin, yet again…
"Marc has done a really impressive race, speaking honestly. He had a technical problem at the start which was a shame. Honda HRC are investigating what happened, what the problem was and what the solution is. Even with this situation, Marc was able to overcome it and after Turn 1 his bike was working well and he was able to show his real pace. From last after the issue, and very far back from the group after Turn 1, more than six seconds, he was able to show how he was the fastest rider in COTA on Sunday. Everyone saw it and he put on an incredible performance."
He leaves with 10 points and after what happened in Indonesia, it must be a positive return?
"Marc couldn’t ride in Indonesia and then wasn’t in Argentina, so we are really happy that he was able to ride in Texas after his crash during Warm Up in Mandalika. He was able to show his level, which is the same as it usually is. He is a rider who is a step above the others."
Is there a positive feeling for the European races?
"We are heading for Europe and will start there with two tracks that Marc likes, he enjoys both Portimao and Jerez. The Championship is very open because Marc is only 40 points from the leader, despite missing two races, and this is the longest season we have ever had. There’s more than 300 points still on offer and we have seen that many things can happen in 2022. We will fight just like the other teams and riders, and we will keep the same mentality we always have – that is trying to win."
Pol Espargaró had one of the most difficult weekends of his career as a rider…
"Unfortunately Pol has struggled since he arrived in the United States. He got food poisoning earlier in the week and he has been destroyed the whole weekend. When you have stomach problems you lose all your strength and at a circuit like COTA, which is super physical, it is even more of a problem. It’s been very complicated for him to do a normal weekend. He did his maximum, he earned some points, which is what we really appreciate. He has been struggling a lot and it has been a bad experience for him."
Now European races start, how would you summarise the start of the season?
"Overall, we have had many problems at the start of this season, but Pol is 38 points behind Bastianini and Marc just 40. So we are thinking in a positive way, we will try to fight and recover this gap. Our spirit is to try to win and this is our goal. In Austin everyone could see how Marc was riding, you can realise a rider’s potential when a rider is last with many seconds to recover, almost six after lap one, and finishing only six seconds from the winner. 'A buen entendedor pocas palabras bastan’ as we say in Spanish – a word to the wise is enough."