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Marquez admits first Sunday MotoGP finish of 2023 “looks like a joke”

The eight-time world champion had not seen the chequered flag on a Sunday in MotoGP prior to Austria since the 2022 Malaysian GP, marking a near-year stint of 301 days without a grand prix finish.

At all of the grands prix Marquez started in 2023 prior to Austria he had crashed out, with all of his points up to last weekend coming in the sprint contests.

But a gamble on the soft rear tyre in the hot Austrian GP on Sunday allowed Marquez to take the chequered flag in 12th on his troubled Honda, marking his first main race finish 10 rounds into the campaign.

“It looks like a joke, but it’s true,” Marquez said when asked about his first Sunday MotoGP finish of the year.

“It’s the first time I finished a race on Sunday [this year] and first points of the season on a Sunday.

“Basically, it’s easy to understand. You just approach the race in another mentality, as I did at Silverstone.

“Ok, [not finishing at] Silverstone was more of a race incident, not riding over the limit.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“Today I go out, we chose the soft because the feeling was quite good, and in the end, as expected the tyre dropped quite a lot. But it was acceptable.”

Prior to the summer break, Marquez had been fighting in strong positions in several grands prix – most notably France and Italy – before crashing out.

But since the resumption of hostilities at the British GP, he has altered his approach to focus purely on collecting data for Honda rather than on results.

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He noted after the Red Bull Ring round that the concentration required is the same, as otherwise “it’s difficult to understand” what is happening with the bike.

However, he concedes this approach is “difficult”.

“I’m concentrated in the same way [as if I was pushing for results], because it’s important to try things because if you try new set-ups and different things on the bike and you are not fully concentrated, then it’s difficult to understand,” he explained.

“But especially today for example I had another motivation, which was to try to manage that soft rear tyre because I saw that the feeling was good.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team bike

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team bike

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“And in the end, as we expected, the tyre dropped quite a lot. When I saw that I was ready to attack, I overtook them [the riders ahead] and I go.

“But it’s difficult to approach the races like this, but we tried many things during this weekend.

“Every run was a different bike. This morning was a massive change, but we understood that was not the direction.

“Then for the race, it was a small change but big from the sprint race, which was a bit better, opposite to the warm-up.

“So, step by step we are trying to analyse because, with this year’s aero, the bike is a bit different.” Marquez admits first Sunday MotoGP finish of 2023 “looks like a joke”

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