With half the World Championship gone, you lead the standings and have a 34 point advantage. You’ve won 4 races and have 3 more podiums, plus you are signed to the Repsol Honda Team in MotoGP for next season. Could you ask for any more?
“No, not really. The first half of the season has gone very well; at some circuits it has been harder for us and we have suffered a little, but overall I think we've done a great job. The first races, which were the ones that we were most concerned about because I had no preseason, brought us good results. The later races proved trickier, but overall I think we have to make a positive assessment. In addition, the announcement at Mugello that next year I will be in MotoGP was great news for all of us, a dream that next year will come true and I have to thank Mr. Nakamoto for that."
The announcement of your move up to MotoGP in the Repsol Honda Team has attracted a lot of attention. Does that give you added pressure?
"No, and I am very clear about where my head should be, which is in Moto2. You have to live with the effects of something like this, because it is normal for people to ask, to show interest... this is good. On Thursday at Mugello there was a ‘boom’ with the press and I was quite busy, but in the end when it happened I was focused on Moto2. My goal is to win this year to move up having won the title."
I guess that when we finish the last race in Valencia and are about to test the bike, then yes I'll feel my nerves tingling, but now I am concentrating on Moto2
What mark out of ten would you give your season so far?
"This is very relative and depends on many things but, on average, I would rate it an 8 or a 8.5, because although we have done many things well, there are other times when we have made mistakes and these things need to be improved. But the important thing is that we have greatly improved our consistency compared to last year, which is an important aspect for the end of the season.”
Last year the situation was very different, as you were chasing the lead and cutting the gap at this point. What has changed in 365 days?
"Basically, I have more experience and know the class better. At this point last year I had four DNFs, whilst this year I have just the one —and even that was in the wet. We should be happy but not lower our guard. Other riders are also going very fast, as we saw at Mugello. When I can’t feel completely comfortable with the bike, I have suffered a bit and in a situation like that last year I might have crashed, but this time I learned to settle for fifth and take points for the championship."
In the remaining races, what will be the deciding factors in the title fight?
"It depends on many factors: how many races will be held in the wet, how many in the dry, our rivals, the tracks, how you feel on the bike... We should be happy because we are 34 points ahead in the standings and it would be much worse to be behind. So it is an advantage to be able to use this in cases where we are ready to fight for victory, but we shouldn’t get carried away, because the difference in points can easily be lost over eight races.”
How do you assess your rivals? Who is looking the strongest?
"Iannone and Espargaro are the two that are the strongest. Iannone is a rider who goes very fast on his day, whilst Pol [Espargaró] has been fairly constant in recent races, as well as in practice. Luthi is also a very fast rider and consistent, so it will be difficult to fight against them."
Valentino Rossi said that one of your best qualities is that you are able to win, even without being the fastest. Is that true? How do you achieve this?
"Yes, sometimes this happens. It might be that at a circuit you are not comfortable or that you are not the fastest that weekend, but in those moments you have to give your all and play your cards right. There are circuits that are better for me than others and GPs where I am the fastest, but you have to squeeze 100% out of every situation.”
Imagine that you are on the grid alongside Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi and the lights go out. What is it going to be like for Marc Márquez?
"[Smiles] Not right now, but next year. If nothing changes, then that will become reality.”
If you close your eyes and imagine yourself dressed like Stoner and Pedrosa, does it put butterflies in your stomach?
"If I'm honest, right now I feel nothing. I guess that when we finish the last race in Valencia and are about to test the bike, then yes I'll feel my nerves tingling, but now I am concentrating on Moto2. Next year will come around soon enough."