Marc Marquez came into MotoGP with a huge reputation. The last time there was excitement quite like we’ve seen surrounding Marquez, a certain Valentino Rossi was about to embark on his MotoGP (500cc) career.
Rossi joked saying he had to beat Marquez as much as he could first half of the season before he got any more experience in, and if the opening race of the season is anything to go by, it may be too late already…
“To tell the truth, I was pretty nervous on the grid, because it was my first MotoGP race. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous before. I found it hard to keep calm and I wasn’t as focused as in Moto2,” said Marquez.
“However, I regained my concentration at the last moment. The start was important and we knew that we were taking off from the dirty part of the track. I didn’t get off well, but I was able to attack on the opening laps and overtake many riders. I think that this was the key.
“When I rode behind Dani I learnt a lot, also later on with Valentino. Fighting against him is always nice to watch, but it’s always tough at the same time. Valentino was a tough rival to overtake on the final laps. He beat us this time, but we hope to learn from him and from everyone who went faster than us.”
Dani Pedrosa took one of his trademark starts, but the first corner is as close as Pedrosa came to the race winner, as the world champion disappeared into the night sky and Pedrosa ended up falling behind Rossi and his team mate Marc Marquez.
“Today’s race was good, in part. I rode strongly and at a good level, although I had to slide around a lot during the entire race to combat a lack of rear grip,” said Pedrosa.
“I saw from the opening lap that Lorenzo was going much faster and I tried to keep my position, because I knew that on the corners the traction issue came into play. I tried as hard as I could to keep my position, but then Rossi came through at a blistering pace and, to tell the truth, I couldn’t stop him -he went straight through. I did all that I could, but it wasn’t enough. Maybe there was a setup issue with the rear, because I had problems with it all weekend and we didn’t have enough grip tonight.
“I was off the podium in the end, which is a shame considering we had some good pre-season tests and that the setup was good in those. For some reason, it just didn’t work for us tonight.”