Marc Marquez at PUMA event admits he didn’t expect Qatar podium
Marc Márquez admits that he did not foresee a podium finish in his very first MotoGP™ race. The 20-year-old Spaniard finished third in Sunday’s Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar, battling with and at one point overtaking personal hero Valentino Rossi.
Having qualified sixth on the grid under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit, Márquez endured a poor start but soon began clawing his way back through the field. The Repsol Honda Team rider ran as high as second after overhauling teammate Dani Pedrosa, but dropped back to third when Yamaha Factory Racing’s Rossi – recovering from an error – charged towards the front. However, this was only after the nine-time world champion had been re-passed by the newcomer and was thus forced to find another way through.
Márquez’s result marked the first time in five years that a rookie had finished inside the top three on his MotoGP™ debut, but he suggests that it was far from probable.
“No, I never thought that,” he told motogp.com in a video interview at Thursday’s PUMA gathering in Barcelona, at which he was presenting a new line of sports training shoes. “You know, there was a dream of trying to finish of the podium, but that wasn’t the goal. I just tried to enjoy it and do my best throughout all of the practice sessions, qualifying and the race. During practice I realised it was going to be so difficult to finish on the podium, but then I had a good (opening few laps to the race) and finished on the podium.”
Hailing from Cervera, near Lleida and just over 100 kilometres north-west of Barcelona, Márquez was particularly amazed by his battle with Rossi.
“I have some models of Valentino’s bikes in my bedroom,” he began to laugh. “It’s incredible to be there, fighting with your hero. He overtook me and I overtook him…in the end he won that one, but we will learn!”
The World Championship resumes with its inaugural race in Austin, Texas next weekend, staged at the new Circuit of the Americas designed by Hermann Tilke. In a private test held at the venue last month, Márquez impressed by setting the pace on all three days.