After a second ‘anti-clockwise’ MotoGP victory of the season in COTA, Marc Marquez will now turn his attention to a first ‘clockwise’ podium of the year in Misano this weekend.
The right-hand corners that dominate clockwise tracks are where the Repsol Honda rider continues to struggle most after last year’s arm and shoulder injuries.
Unfortunately for Marquez, clockwise circuits also dominate the world championship season, meaning he must re-master them (with the aid of an improved 2022 Honda) to achieve his goal of a title challenge next season.
With his Austrian hopes washed away by late-race rain, Marquez’s best clockwise finish of the season is fourth place at last month’s Misano round.
However, the Spaniard was still left 5.5s from the rostrum, a gap he will try to bridge in this weekend’s Italian sequel, the first of two remaining clockwise circuits.
“We come back to Misano in a better situation, each weekend we have been able to improve a little bit more,” Marquez said. “Now we start the last three races of the year so hopefully we can continue the trend of recent rounds and end the season well.
“Last race here I had a very funny battle with Miller and Mir so hopefully we can be fighting once again.”
While not a fan of returning to the same circuit more than once a season, a measure used to fill the Covid-reduced calendar, the eight time world champion added that it makes the competition tighter.
“On racing again at the same circuit, personally, I don’t like it. I prefer to compete on different circuits because of the show and the riding, you have to adapt yourself to many things and everything is more dynamic,” he said.
“Being a circuit where we have already had a race, a test and an official practice means that everyone will know how to go fast. We will have to ride fast, as lap times will be very tight.”
The biggest change compared to September is expected to be the weather, with a risk of rain and likelihood of cooler temperatures meaning Marquez expects the preferred tyre choice to change.
“The first race at Misano was very hot and now it seems we will have lower temperatures,” Marquez confirmed. “It can also [mean] riders who were slower in warm weather and maybe they are faster now in the colder.
“At the same time, the set-up will have to be adjusted a bit. If you have a flag-to-flag race, it is clear that you have to adapt yourself.
“It will be the same circuit but there are other sensations on the bike and you also have to understand the tyres. Surely, the best tyres will not be the same this time, so all this must be taken into account.”
While Marquez, the only RCV rider to win MotoGP races since 2018, has risen to seventh in the world championship (despite missing the Qatar rounds), team-mate Pol Espargaro enters the closing phase of his first Honda season just 15th in the standings.
“It’s time to focus and end the season with a strong last three races,” Espargaro said. “There’s some good potential going into Misano, especially after the test where we were able to try more things.
“Everyone else has also had a lot of time in Misano so it’s going to be a fast weekend from the start but I think going there a few weeks later could change the situation with the temperature and the weather.
“Like always, we need to work from Friday and have a good Saturday to be in a position to fight on Sunday.”