Marquez: Rossi fight at Barcelona invaluable

Marquez: Rossi fight at Barcelona invaluable
By AutoSport

19/10/2016 at 18:02Updated

Marc Marquez believes his battle with Valentino Rossi for the Catalunya Grand Prix victory in June played a key role in his understanding of MotoGP's new technical package.

Marquez and Rossi slugged it out late at Barcelona, with the Yamaha rider eventually taking the victory and Marquez finishing second.

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However Marquez says the experience was illuminating in learning how Rossi handled the new Michelin tyres, especially the front, which has accounted for the bulk of this year's crashes.

Rossi was on the grid when Michelin last supplied MotoGP, and earlier this year surmised that he "grew up as a rider with these tyres".

"I started to understand [the front tyre] maybe after Barcelona," newly-crowned champion Marquez said.

"In that race I started to understand a little bit, I saw a few things behind Valentino.

"That was the first race I followed him for many laps and Valentino knows Michelin tyres a lot because he rode on them for many years.

"I saw a few things and said, 'OK, I will try to improve them'.

"The next races were all in wet conditions, but I started to understand the front tyre and now I try to use it in a different way."

Honda was one of the biggest opponents to the introduction of this year's control electronics, and ultimately started the season behind the pack.

That contributed to an acceleration deficit, which was cut as the year went on, particularly with a reported breakthrough after the summer break.

Marquez says that the soon-to-be-banned winglets - which Honda was at odds with Ducati about - also helped his cause.

"One big step, that I know next year we will not use, was the big wings," he said.

"The big wings were something that I was pushing [for], pushing them to find good wings, because I thought we could reduce the problems with acceleration, the wheelie.

"At Brno they gave these big wings to me to try, and on the Monday test we tried them again.

"Since that race, we started to go better and better.

"I remember [pre-season] that I said to Honda engineers, 'I believe in you, I will change my mentality for the first races, but second half of the season I need your help'.

"The second half of the season, this help arrived, they did a great job with the electronics especially, we improved the acceleration.

"Now we have a competitive bike, I feel good."