Alex Marquez feels that not attacking Enea Bastianini in the early laps of the Malaysian Grand Prix was a “mistake” as his front tyre overheated later in the race.

The Gresini rider was confident of finally securing a long-awaited maiden MotoGP victory at the Sepang International Circuit after winning the Saturday sprint race at the venue. His chances of achieving this goal were elevated off the start as he took advantage of the battling Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin to move into second.

He elected not to attack leader Bastianini from the outset of the encounter though as he looked to save his rubber for a charge later in the grand prix. This ultimately proved to be an error though, with Marquez unable to get close enough for an attack on the Italian and thus being forced to settle for the runners-up spot in the end.

Marquez explained that his front tyre had overheated while running in the wheel tracks of Bastianini throughout the contest, admitting that it was “my mistake” to not attack the factory Ducati rider in the opening stanza of the event.

“It was a really tough race and the pace was really fast and tough, I checked and the pace this year was 15 seconds faster than last year so it was tough from the beginning,” began Marquez.

“My mistake was not attacking him (Bastianini) in the beginning, I waited too long and the tyre temperature got a little too high and it was like a wall where the gap was 0.6s, 0.5s, and up again and I couldn’t get closer.

“He made a couple of mistakes, but he saved them well and for the rest of the race, he was unbelievable and always on the pace not making any major errors.

“Like me yesterday, when you are in front you have the fresh air so it’s much easier to ride the bike.

 “This was a small error, but overall we did an incredible weekend and were fast all the way through with the victory in the sprint race and second today.  Of course, we could ask for more with the victory, but we can be happy and we cannot forget where we came from.”  

Marquez added that he had struggled all weekend for overall fitness throughout the weekend after being struck down with a fever upon arrival in Malaysia, though luckily felt well enough to perform at his best on Sunday.

“When I came from Spain with the air conditioning on the plane I had a fever on Wednesday when I arrived here, I was on the bed the entire day but day by day I improved,” said Marquez.

“Already yesterday I was pretty tired because I lost so much water, but overall I feel good and I will celebrate with the team tonight before switching focus to Qatar.” 

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