Marc Marquez conceded “the best Marc” wasn’t on track during the French Grand Prix after a pair of crashes that potentially cost him a first fairytale victory since his return.
The Honda rider made a good start from sixth on the grid to establish himself in the top five early on before getting firmly involved in the lead battle as rain started to fall, the Spaniard flying in the slippery conditions.
He then moved into the lead of the contest following a rapid switch to his wet-shod machine on the fourth lap, slowly extending his lead over Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo over the subsequent few laps before high-siding at the exit of the final turn at around a quarter distance.
He rejoined towards the back of the field and fought back to 11th-despite losing most of his Honda’s aerodynamic appendages in the initial crash- by posting times consistently more than a second per lap quicker than the leaders, though he was eliminated for good with a second crash at Turn 6 just ten circulations from the end.
Marquez admitted post-race that it was “a shame to not take advantage of the opportunity the weather gave us”, though he was buoyed that he could once again be “really fast” in conditions that he has historically excelled in.
“Of course I’m disappointed because we didn’t take profit from the special situation in which I normally feel very good, the good thing is that I showed speed and even after the crash I was able to be really fast,” said Marquez.
“It’s a shame we haven’t been able to take advantage of the opportunity that the weather gave to us.
“Crashes can happen in those kinds of conditions, maybe the tyre wasn’t quite up to temperature but I’m more disappointed about the second crash because there I wasn’t good.
“I need to understand why it happened, I shouldn’t have crashed again but anyway we learn and the good thing is that we showed well in the front which is important.
“In a normal weekend it will be more difficult (to be competitive), but overall I’m happy with the performance and generally with the speed on Sunday, although it wasn’t the best Marc on track.”
The six-time premier class world champion reckoned that the cause of his second crash was down to him thinking more about track conditions and the possibility of pitting for the second time to return to slick tyres, Marquez accepting that he had not been “fully concentrated” at the time of his final incident.
“The physical and mental side is quite difficult at the moment, I’m always thinking about the position of the arm on the bike and about the flag-to-flag strategy and then trying to get going after the crash so maybe I wasn’t fully concentrated on the track conditions.
“I was thinking more about when to change to slick tyres again, I think it was that lap (of second crash) that I signalled to my team to come in and then I entered the corner too fast and I crashed.
“I was thinking too much about the track and not about the riding, I’m very disappointed because it was not the time to have another crash.”