Marc Marquez: ‘On the limit’ fuel complicated Motegi win
Marc Marquez says the fact he was “on the limit” with fuel in the Japanese grand prix made sure the path to his tenth win of 2019 “wasn’t easy”.
The Honda racer turned his first ever premier class Motegi pole into the lead as the race got underway and, despite having to fend off Fabio Quartararo on the opening tour, quickly pulled an advantage of just over a second on the Yamaha rider.
It looked as if Quartararo could mount a victory bid as he began to chip away at Marquez’s lead over the first half of the contest, before the world champion pulled the pin and extended his gap to roughly 2.5 seconds in just a couple of laps.
Marquez went unchallenged from this point onwards as the chasing Petronas SRT man began to struggle with his soft rear tyre and crossed the line just under a second clear at the flag.
The Spaniard revealed after the race though that fuel worries limited his pace throughout the 25 lap encounter, explaining how he was able to pull away from Quartararo at will.
“It definitely wasn’t easy, especially because I had to push from the beginning. The strategy was clear, I had to pull a gap from the start because I felt very strong in warm-up, and then in the race I was also very strong,” said Marquez.
“I had to play a lot with the switches throughout because I was running low on fuel, I was on the limit.
“This is one of the worst circuits for fuel consumption, so I had to play around with the switches and then push a bit more, that’s when I built the gap to two seconds, and then I started to save fuel again.
“It wasn’t easy to ride because I had to think about so many things, but I was able to manage everything well and just finish the race on the limit with fuel.
“The team did a great job because they were able to find the perfect compromise for myself and the bike to win today.”
Marquez’s victory also wrapped up the fourth-straight manufacturers title for Honda to go along with the riders championship he secured in Thailand last time out, while his Motegi pole also means he has now scored a pole position at every track on the current MotoGP calendar.