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Focus key for jubilant champion Marquez in Australia

2018-10-25 12:40
Marc Marquez

Image: MARTIN BUREAU / AFP

Newly-crowned MotoGP champion Marc Marquez admits his key concern going into Sunday's Australian Grand Prix at the demanding Phillip Island circuit is concentration.

The flying Spaniard stormed to victory in a pulsating race at Japan last weekend to secure his third straight world championship in the sport's premier class, and fifth overall.

'The tactic is to concentrate'

With another title in the bag and three races of the season left, it would be easy for the Honda hotshot to relax - a failure of his in the past.

READ: Honda's Marc Marquez clinches his 7th MotoGP title in Japan

But he is determined to keep his focus and not repeat previous mistakes in Australia after the euphoria of winning world crowns in Japan in 2014 and 2016.

"The tactic is to concentrate. I won (the world championship) in 2014 in Motegi and arrived here and I felt like I could do anything, and I crashed," Marquez, still only 25 and super consistent this season, said.

"In 2016, I started to feel different (more mature), but I still crashed in the race and it's something I need to concentrate on this weekend.

"I plan to approach the race in the way I will approach the 2019 season and be focused," he said.

While the championship has been decided, there is still plenty to race for in Australia and at the final two grand prix in Malaysia and Spain.

Marquez's key rival, Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso who crashed on the penultimate lap at Motegi to end any slim chance of keeping the championships alive, has historically struggled in Australia.

He is currently running second in the standings but only nine points ahead of legendary Yamaha-riding Italian Valentino Rossi, with Maverick Vinales 30 points adrift in fourth.

Wide open

Rossi was the winner at Phillip Island from 2001 to 2005 and again in 2014, but he hasn't tasted victory on Australian soil since then.

He has the added motivation this year of pressuring Dovizioso in the sprint towards the season runner-up spot behind Marquez.

"Phillip Island is one of the best circuits of the season for everybody. There are very fast and very long corners and I think we can be competitive and fight for the podium," he said.

"Above all, we will have to wait and see what the weather conditions will be like."

No rain is forecast, although it is expected to be overcast on Sunday.

Britain's Cal Crutchlow, the 2016 winner who took second place in Japan last week, is another gunning for a podium finish but is not sure he can repeat his heroics from two years ago.

"I had a great race in Japan and I think the momentum is there. I'm riding well at the moment but to repeat 2016 is difficult," said the Honda rider.

"If you look on paper now I think there are 10 guys who can potentially win. There are only three places on the podium, so I think you'll get to see a good race."

Another rider who has always done well at Phillip Island, Ducati's three-time champion Jorge Lorenzo, is missing after undergoing wrist surgery this week following a crash at the inaugural Thailand race recently.

He is hoping to return for the next race in Sepang and barring that the final one in Valencia.

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