The Repsol Honda rider cruised to his seventh career victory at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas on Sunday, heading championship leader Fabio Quartararo by 4.879 seconds having led every lap.
It was the second win of the season for Marquez and the second to come at an anticlockwise track, which generally eases some of the limitations on his recovering right shoulder.
Marquez says his race was “the one that I dreamed of” but admits that he knew coming to COTA it could be his last opportunity to win this season.
“It was a perfect race, the one that I dreamed of last night,” he said. “It is true that my plan was to try to lead the race from the beginning because the first laps were my weak points and then I tried to slow the race from the first four or five laps, and then when I felt OK, I just pushed.
“It was one shot, strong, from one lap to another one, half a second faster, and this was one of the main reasons to be able to open a gap. I am happy, really happy, because it has been a very hard season and sometimes I crash and I don’t understand, and sometimes I am fast and I don’t understand, and sometimes I am slow and I don’t understand.
“But this victory I was looking for because I know that maybe it is the last circuit with good conditions to win at, but my intention was to be strong, not like here, but strong in the last three races and try to be consistent and then let’s see.”
Marquez said that he feared he was “looking stupid” in the final laps when he eased off the pace as his Honda became harder to control over the bumps – and revealed he almost crashed with three tours remaining.
“It was so difficult, especially for the bumps,” he added when asked how hard it is to stay focused with such a commanding lead. “The problem is that when you slow down a bit then the bike is shaking even more and on the last lap, I was looking stupid because I was riding slow, but the bike was shaking a lot, so I said, ‘what is going on here?’
“It is especially difficult to keep focused, with three laps to go I nearly crashed at Turn 6, I touched the inside kerb and I nearly lost the front.”
Marquez topped Friday’s practice running at COTA but admitted that day that he didn’t feel like he was riding well. That feeling persisted into Saturday, but he says the fact that he didn’t push his body when he felt limited on the bike ultimately proved to be key to his victory.
“The key point of this weekend was [Saturday], I felt also not so good,” he explained. “I mean, the speed was there but the feeling was not there with the track, with the bumps, and I didn’t push.
“Because if you don’t feel well and you push, then you are using a lot the muscles and the physical condition. Yesterday, I pushed only for a single lap and today in the warm-up is where I felt better and I was pushing more.
“So, the key point was yesterday, keeping calm and saving energy, and today showing and giving everything.”