After nearly a month away and following the first nine races of the season, the MotoGP World Championship beings an intense second half of the 2016 campaign at the Austrian Grand Prix. The event returns to the calendar for the first time since 1997. The Repsol Honda Team riders head to Spielberg with Marc Marquez leading the World Championship with 170 points –48 more than his closest rival. Teammate Dani Pedrosa is fourth overall with 96 points to his name.
"The holidays have been very good because we started the summer break knowing we had worked as well as possible with my team and with Honda in the first part of the season. I had some time off, resting and relaxing with my friends on the beach. Anyway, a quite hectic and challenging second half of the season is about to begin, requiring our total concentration and a lot of hard work, so I also spent some time preparing myself with cycling and supermotard training.
Now I really look forward to getting back to racing my bike and to riding again at the Red Bull Ring. I had the chance to enjoy this amazing track twice, even if I wasn't riding my factory bike and of course I couldn't push as much as I like. It’s a circuit that’s quite enjoyable; some things about it remind me of Austin in that you have to brake very hard and stop the bike and turn quickly, but then there’s the last part that’s faster. I think it’s a good track for the World Championship and I can’t wait to ride there with a MotoGP bike.
When you approach a weekend at a new circuit, it’s different and you have to be able to adapt as quickly as possible. I’m also proud to race there because my fan club will join us with many Austrian fans. I’m sure we'll have a great weekend and hopefully sunny weather."
“The chance to spend some time on holiday with my friends has been very good but it’s now time to focus again on the work ahead. We went to the Red Bull Ring for some filming last June, and we were able to do a few laps on the RC213V-S, which is quite an amazing and fast bike. The circuit is in the middle of the woods, a beautiful place indeed. It’s short but it’s quite interesting because the width changes a lot so that there are very wide parts and some narrower ones. I would say the hardest thing is that there’s only one line and that makes overtaking difficult.
Anyway there are two or three points at which there’s pretty hard braking and where you can overtake because the track is wide. It has a combination of corners that include more right-handers than left-handers, but above all there’s a long time where the bike flows a lot. It only stops hard at two corners. It’s nice to see how you go up the hill and then back down. It will be interesting racing at a new track and to see how our bike goes there. Hopefully we’ll be able to do a good job and have a good weekend.”