MotoGP World Championship leader Marc Marquez is taking nothing for granted this weekend at Motegi, where he has the opportunity to bid for a third race victory in a row.
The Repsol Honda rider won back-to-back races at Misano and Aragon to open a cushion of 16 points at the top of the standings over Andrea Dovizioso.
However, although the reigning champion is in high spirits ahead of the Japanese round, Marquez is prepared for all eventualities.
“The last memories here at Motegi were amazing because we won the race and the championship in front of our boss of Honda, and it was so great,” said Marquez, whose title-clinching victory in 2016 was his first at the Twin Ring circuit.
“This year we arrive after a good race in Misano and a good race in Aragon but anyway, you never know here and it even looks like the weather will be unstable. It’s a circuit that I like, but for some reason the other years I struggle a little bit, but last year I was really strong and really comfortable.
“Here, during this championship all season, we are here on Thursday and you don’t know who will be the riders on Sunday because it can be maybe Dani [Pedrosa], [Jorge] Lorenzo, Valentino [Rossi] and these two guys that are very strong [Andrea Dovizioso and Maverick Vinales],” added Marquez.
“You never know, so you need to work in your box and try to find the best base and then on Sunday you will see where you can fight.”
Marquez has been especially strong on the RCV in the second part of the season and is confident he can adapt to any conditions on the Honda this weekend, regardless of the weather.
“If it changes five degrees the track temperature, it changes the set-up of the bike so it is difficult to understand, but I feel good in these conditions and this is the most important,” he said.
“The feeling with the bike in the last races was really good, but every race is different and you need to keep the same mentality and the same kind of work because in the end, there is still four races remaining – these three in Japan, Australia and Malaysia are very, very important because everything is related about the last race.
“I look forward to starting on Friday in a good way in FP1 and try to keep to a good level in every condition to try to be on the podium,” he added.
“We will try to do our best like we did until now and try to push at the maximum.”