Marc Marquez says his first chance to win the 2018 MotoGP title has not changed his approach to the Japanese Grand Prix, saying it is “just another weekend”.
Marquez took a 77-point lead over Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso with a win in Thailand, presenting him with his first match-point to win the title in Japan should he conceded no less than two points to the Italian.
The Honda rider has won two of his previous four MotoGP crowns at Motegi, but is approaching this weekend the same as he has done at every race this season, and says he can “take more risk” as he has four opportunities to wrap up the title.
“It's not the last race, it's not Valencia, it's not the same as last year in Valencia when you know it's the last opportunity, the last chance,” he said.
“Here you need to focus to win the race, you can take more risk or manage in another way because you have more opportunities or you will have more opportunities in the final races.
“So the feeling is [it] is just another weekend, it's not special.”
Asked how this weekend felt compared to '14 and '16 when he won the championship in Japan, Marquez says it is “more or less the same” and hopes to repeat the former scenario as his situation was “a little bit better” than in '16.
“The feeling is more or less the same one, because of course maybe 2014 was maybe the best way to win here because the situation was a little bit better,” he added.
“Of course, the most difficult was 2016, because was something we didn't expect and everything happened on the same Sunday.
“I won the race and both Yamaha riders crashed, so was something unusual, but it happened.
“And this year we'll try to repeat.”
Dovizioso beat Marquez at Motegi last year, and has won twice since the summer break, which has made the Honda rider wary of the threat to his hopes of winning the championship this weekend posed by the Italian.
“The wins in Thailand and Aragon have been very important, because this second part of the season Ducati riders were very, very fast and are very, very fast.
“So was important, and also with these victories we were able to increase the advantage in the championship, a bit closer to our final goal, and here we have the first match-point.
“But the target this weekend is the same as the others. Try to start [well] from FP1, try to work hard and try to be ready on Sunday to fight for the victory.
“After warm-up we will see where we can fight, where we can arriver because we cannot forget Dovizioso is very, very fast here in Motegi normally and also he is at a very good level.”