Marc Marquez, MotoGP legend and six-time world champion in the premier class of the sport over the past decade, says that leaving Repsol Honda was the most difficult decision he ever made.
Marquez is leaving his current team after this year's Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing (MotoGP). In 2013, he was the youngest MotoGP world champ ever. He had joined Honda in 2012. He won the title again in 2014, and then went on to win another four awards in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Since then, a number of serious injuries, and the drop in performance of Honda's bike compared to other manufacturers, especially the dominant Ducati, has prevented him from attempting a seventh world title, which would equal the record.
Marquez is 14th on the standings of the riders' championship with three races left in this season. His teammate Joan Mir has fallen to 22nd.
The 30-year old Spaniard is widely regarded as one of the best motorcycle racers in history. He will join Gresini Ducati for the next season and will ride the same bike that the top three riders are riding this season.
Marquez, who was in Malaysia preparing for the Malaysian Grand Prix, told CNBC that it was his most difficult and largest decision. "Especially because you're leaving your comfort zone and your team. You are also leaving your family and the team you have a great relationship with," he said.
Marquez, who supports Honda's return at the top, even without his presence, said that he does not have the time to wait until the brand's motorcycle improves its performance if he is to maximize the remaining years of physical prime. He promised to give it his all during the last three races of the season as a way to thank Honda and the support they have given him in the past decade.
Marquez, who rides for Gresini Ducati - a satellite of Ducati Lenovo's factory team - will ride the bike that is currently dominating the grid. He knows the expectations.
"First, Second and Third in the Championship are riding that motorcycle so this means there is no excuse for the bicycle -- it's all about you. But I need my time," said he, noting how difficult it was to adapt to a different bike after 11 years with the Honda.
"Ofcourse, if we work hard, we will have a future. But my job right now is to let go of that expectation and focus only on myself."
Respect your body
Marquez, who had a successful career until 2020, has been involved in several horrific crashes and suffered serious injuries over the years. This led to a series of surgeries and time on the sidelines.
Respect your body. That was the biggest or most important lesson. Marquez stressed the importance of respecting the recovery timelines.
Because your body is a one. You will enjoy more races and years if you care for your body.
Many have attributed Marquez’s spectacular crashes to his distinctive riding style, which involved aggressive cornering and brake techniques. This style propelled him to a position of prominence in the sport. This style of riding has captured the attention of fans but also forced Marquez to go through some tough times, both mentally and physically.
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"Those are the moments where you can learn most, and I do not want anyone to experience them." In those moments, it's hard to stay motivated, but you have to maintain your routines. That is the real work, he said.
Marquez has changed his riding style over the years but he says he can't ride a motorcycle any other way than at its limits.
He said, "When I am really focused, I can see it when I push hard."
This is a natural instinct. "Even when I train at home, and no one is watching, I can't ride in easy mode. I have to push myself and always find that limit."