“Sitting on the sofa at home, I told myself that if I was going to compete without taking risks, then I would not be champion”

7 minutes

Marc Márquez faces his tenth season with the Repsol Honda Team and talks about his goals for 2022.

“Sitting on the sofa at home, I told myself that if I was going to compete without taking risks, then I would not be champion”

What does it mean to be one of the most experienced riders in MotoGP?

“Roles are changing within MotoGP. Not long ago I was one of the youngest riders, and this year I will be one of the most experienced. This is a responsibility, but it is also a source of motivation, because the youngsters are coming up. I also got into MotoGP very early, but now everyone gets into MotoGP very quickly, and it’s like a natural generational shift. We are going to try to keep our generation on top for as many years as we can.”

How would you describe the winter?

“It’s been a bit of an agonising winter, in the sense that I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know when I would heal. When it comes to bones, the doctors tell you that it will take either between two and three months or between one and two. This winter has been a bit difficult in this sense, because I had damage to my eyesight and there were three scenarios on the table: Wait for it to heal on its own; wait to see if I would need an operation and if I could compete again in 2022; or see if it heals and if I can get back on a bike. Those were the three scenarios and it was a tough winter, but luckily the doctors and physios I’ve worked with helped a lot with me starting the preseason and getting my eyes fixed in two and a half months. I don’t know if even the doctor was expecting that.”

With your experience, have you adapted your training plan at home?

“Obviously with experience you adapt your training plan to everything, be it gym work, motorcycle training or rest. I have always maintained the same style of training with a lot of motorcycle riding, because you need to ride a bike in order to improve on one. There is a risk, but if you want to be a champion then it’s one that you have to take. Sitting on the sofa at home, I told myself that if I was going to compete at all the races without taking risks, then I would not be champion. I will follow the same style, because it is what I enjoy and how I feel prepared for the races. In the gym, I have had to adapt a lot since 2020 and I continue to adapt now, because there were certain limitations for my arm. It is healing, but it is a slow process and you adapt with experience.”

How is your shoulder after the winter break?

“Physically, I feel better and better. I have been practically inactive for two months, almost all of November and December, because with double vision I couldn’t train well -I got dizzy and I wasn’t able to train. That rest was good for my body. When you start over again, it is a little more difficult, but we still have time. The objective is to get to the first race in Qatar as prepared as possible. I am very aware that in 2022 one of the key points for me will be to take care of my shoulder and my arm and keep them fresh. I am sure that if I keep it away from discomfort, this will help me a lot when it comes to competing.”

When will we be able to see those saves you made in 2019 again?

“I hope the saves and the ‘rodeo riding’ on the bike come back soon. It is a combination of everything: The physical side, my feeling on the bike… everything has to improve. In the last part of 2021 I was already beginning to feel ready, but let’s see if in 2022 we can have a normal preseason, ride the bike, gain confidence and get closer to that style that has characterised us for all these years.”

Will this test be enough to get to the first race in optimal condition?

“I think so. I think that being able to start a normal preseason, in good shape, doing all the tests in Malaysia and Mandalika, will mean that we arrive practically as well-prepared as the others aat the first race. It will be one of the first semi-normal preseasons that I have had in four years, because I haven’t been able to train well before. I am looking forward to testing the new bike and working to improve, which will help us to start with a good base.”

Are you aiming for the title again this season?

“Last year I had to be realistic with the situation and with the objectives that we had to set, and from the first moment I said that the title was unattainable. It was almost impossible -and it was impossible in the end. This year we start with a preseason and the goal is to win and fight for the title. You are at HRC, so you have to have this mentality. Let’s see if we can have a normal preseason, train well and arrive prepared for the first race, ready to go out and fight for the podium, for wins and for the title at the end of the year.”

Do you come back hungrier than before after these two difficult years?

“After a bad moment, you want it, but the desire shouldn’t overcome you. You have to control that desire and know how to handle it. As an athlete and as a rider, at 28 years old I have had to experience both parts of sport: The best part, which is winning, the smiles, the celebrations and everything beautiful, and the worst part of sport -which are injuries, being at home, watching the races on TV, uncertainty, not knowing what will happen in your future. This is difficult on a mental and personal level, because it affects you in every way. It seems that we are getting out of this big dip. Let’s see if 2022 can be a turning point, and that we can return to the beautiful side of the sport.”

Who are the favorites for the title?

“It’s hard to pick names before a season starts -especially before preseason starts. I think there will be two certain candidates for the title, which will be Quartararo and Bagnaia. Bagnaia finished last year very strong and Quartararo was the champion, the most complete rider of the year. Then there will be many other names, since there are many bikes and many teams in which you can win a World Championship now. Everything is very professional and it will be hard. I am convinced that if we work well and are focused on our box, our team and our bike, we will try to make things difficult for them.”

How do you see Pol doing in his second season?

“I’m sure that this season Pol will be another of the tough, fast rivals that will already be fighting at the front from the beginning -or at least that is what is expected of him. It will already be his second year at Honda and it won’t be like the first season, in which you don’t know the bike and the situations. I think he has to be fighting at the front for victories and for podiums, and he will be one of the rivals that we will have to fight against and try to beat.”

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