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Record man Marquez crosses another bridge

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Marc Marquez talks about fighting for his second successive MotoGP title as if there was some uncertainty about the outcome.

The fact he has won 10 out of 11 races so far, with his amazing run of success ending only this month in the Czech Republic, does not appear to have changed his thinking.

The 21-year-old is running away with the championship faster than you can say 'Repsol Honda', or 'Spanish winner', and yet he refused to tempt fate ahead of Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

"No, it’s not already won," the champion told Reuters, after performing a promotional burnout on a pedestrian bridge across the Thames on Wednesday, when it was put to him that it was merely a case of adjusting the crown.

"All the people say 'yeah, yeah, you will win' but still there are seven races left which are quite a lot. You can lose many points, you can win many points.

"So we need to be focused. If we have some problems like in Brno we need to be intelligent and think about the championship."

Marquez has a lead of 77 points, equal to three race wins, over Honda team mate and compatriot Dani Pedrosa who won the last round in Brno.

If that result came as something of a surprise, Marquez made light of it - joking afterwards that at least people would now stop asking him whether he thought he could win every race this season.

MAIN TARGET

So, with that inconvenience out of the way, did he think he could win all the rest of them?

"I don’t know," laughed the leader. "I don’t think so. I think some more races I will struggle or some riders will be faster than me. But what I can say is that I will fight for the title.

"That is now the main target for me and just to stay focused to get it."

In Indianapolis this month, Marquez had become the first man in 17 years to win 10 successive races, as well as the youngest, and the first since Italian great Giacomo Agostini in 1970 to win the opening 10 of a championship.

A precocious talent, he became the youngest MotoGP champion last year and also took titles in 125cc and Moto2 on his way up.

If Formula One is astonished at the prospect of Dutch driver Max Verstappen making his grand prix debut at 17 next year, then Marquez is less surprised.

"I heard that and it's incredible that a guy of 17 will be in Formula One, but if he's ready why not?," asked the Spaniard. "I started at four years old. Professional drivers also start at four years old with a kart."

NICE EXPERIENCE

With Honda coming in to F1 as McLaren's engine partners next year, and Yamaha's MotoGP great Valentino Rossi once toying with a switch to Ferrari, Marquez could also be tempted to give it a try just for fun one day.

"I know that MotoGP is my world, but to try some day a Formula One car would be a nice experience," he said.

That all remains a long way in the future, if ever.

Silverstone is the immediate challenge and the Spaniard has yet to win there in the top category, despite qualifying on pole last year.

That race started badly when he fell in Sunday morning's warm-up and ultimately finished second to Yamaha's double champion Jorge Lorenzo.

"Last year, during the weekend it was perfect, I was strong, very focused," he recalled. "But on Sunday morning I had a crash and dislocated my shoulder.

"(But) it's a circuit that I like, I always feel good. So we will try to fight for the victory."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)

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