When the weather is actively working against your advancement, not quite winning is really the best you can hope for.
— Marc Márquez (@marcmarquez93) June 26, 2016
Unlike storied nemesis Valentino Rossi, Marquez opted to play it safe at the TT Circuit Assen. Not an easy choice, especially when Jack Miller was steadily gaining on his lead at the 12-lap restart. But it was certainly the prudent one, as the Spaniard is well-aware of his limitations in the rain compared to the ability of duck-to-water Miller. Playing safe on the wet track from the start, he very happily ended up in second place.
“Today’s race was one of those in which you can either lose many points or gain them, and you can face it with two mentalities: either you take a risk to gain a bigger advantage, or you focus on finishing the race in order to lose the fewest points possible. The latter is the mentality that the team repeated to me about forty times between this morning and today, and it is exactly what I did. I tried to stay in the top five so as not to drop many points to [Valentino] Rossi and attempted not to make mistakes in order not to finish the race. At the beginning of the first race I didn’t feel comfortable and lost touch, but then I was able to recover. I think that stopping the race was a good decision, because it was very dangerous out there.
“In the second race I started off thinking about pushing a bit more, but everyone was very fast and I decided not to follow Rossi and Dovizioso because they were going too quickly. However, both of them crashed later on. When I saw Jack [Miller] stalking behind me, I knew he would be going for his first win, so I preferred to let him pass and keep a couple of seconds gap between us, as well as a cushion to third place. I did that because with Jorge [Lorenzo] so far back and Rossi out of the race, second place was as good as a victory. In the end, we leave Assen with a bigger lead.”
The Repsol Honda Team rider could afford to be magnanimous, as he has plenty of cushioning to fall back on. As he’s pointed out, he’s head and shoulders above the rest on the championship table anyway, ahead of Lorenzo by 24 points and Rossi by 42. He’s also looking forward to Sachsenring, a track he has historically dominated with three straight victories. With such stats on his side, it’s no wonder he’s willing to concede a victory or two. Unlike Rossi, he’s perfectly comfortable with where he’s perching at the moment.