Marc Marquez has admitted he feels the pressure of being top dog in MotoGP.
The Catalan is a dominant force in the premier class since making his debut in 2013.
He has secured glory in five of the last six campaigns and is expected to add another championship win to his dazzling record this year.
Ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone today, Marquez is already a hefty 58 points clear of Ducati ace Andrea Dovizioso in second spot.
But despite making it look easy, the Honda hero says he does feel the weight of expectation.
“It’s difficult to keep the level because everyone expects a lot of you,” Marquez said.
“Generally if you finish a race in fourth or fifth position that is not bad, [but] it’s a disaster for other people.
“All the pressure is difficult to manage in a good way.
“But it’s much better to have this kind of [points] advantage because then you can ride in a different way and be more comfortable.”
Marquez is still only 26 years old but is rapidly closing in on Valentino Rossi’s record of nine world championships, seven of which are at MotoGP level.
He insists overtaking his rival isn’t a priority, though.
“About the records and statistics, I don’t check them a lot,” he added.
“I try to enjoy it every year and achieve my goals every year. This is what recharges my batteries.
“Then, when I finish the season and I achieve my goals, that means it’s extra motivation for the next one.”
Rossi, 40, is still competing although isn’t the force he once was.
The Doctor last secured a championship win in 2009 and has only managed two podium finishes this term.
Marquez isn’t convinced he’ll continue racing for as long as the veteran superstar.
“First of all, the injuries, you have to respect them,” he explained.
“Then you have to keep the motivation. Of course I have a very nice group around me that are giving me their best and this is the most important.
“This is something that if you ask now, I say of course [I’ll keep going].
“But maybe in four, five or six years then the motivation isn’t there. If you don’t have the passion you will stop.
“What Rossi did and is doing for MotoGP is something amazing. And the level he’s at now, at 40 years old is incredible.”
Despite Marquez’s relative youth, there’s now another pretender on the scene.
Rookie Fabio Quartararo is rapidly establishing himself as a serious force.
Marquez expects the Petronas Yamaha rider to provide stiff competition sooner rather than later.
“He has a very good talent,” Marquez said. “But until now maybe he didn’t have the correct team around him. He will be one of the competitors next year in the championship.
“I’m still very young but this year two or three times I was the oldest on the podium.
“This is something strange to accept but it’s the natural procedure.”
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