Martin started from sixth on Saturday at the Indonesian Grand Prix to win the sprint race, marking his fourth half-distance contest success in a row.
With reigning world champion Bagnaia only eighth after qualifying down in 13th, Martin now leads the standings heading into Sunday’s grand prix by seven points.
Marquez – who crashed on the opening lap of the sprint – believes Martin is in a better position to win the title over Bagnaia because “he doesn’t have any pressure” due to the fact he is not riding for a factory team.
“I say already two races ago I think and I said again today with the Spanish journalists: I think, if I need to bet on somebody, I will bet on Jorge,” the Honda rider said.
“But why? Because he doesn’t have any pressure. He is on a factory bike but not in the factory team.
“He’s not defending the title. If he wins the championship, it’s amazing. If he finishes second, it will be okay because the normal thing is that Pecco would win.
“So, now Pecco is suffering what [it] is [like] defending a title, in that sometimes it’s more difficult to defend a title than to win.”
The eight-time world champion’s comments about a satellite Ducati rider being under less pressure to win a title are interesting in light of recent events, with Marquez joining the Gresini squad in 2024 on a year-old Desmosedici.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Marquez was fighting inside the top 10 on the opening lap of Saturday’s sprint at the Mandalika circuit when he slid off his Honda battling with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro at Turn 11.
While he accepted the tumble was his own mistake, Marquez explained his struggles in getting the rear of the RC213V to do what he wants on the way into corners was a major contributing factor.
“This year I’m struggling a lot to get that feeling, to slide and go in [to a corner] and keep the corner speed,” he said.
“And it’s true that I used the rear brake on that corner, maybe more than normal.
“And then I slide, but when I released [the brakes] to lean the bike the rear came back in a sharp way and when the rear came back it pushed the front.
“I already checked the data; I was not [using] extra speed, it was not extra front pressure. Just I used a little bit more the rear brake and slid a bit more, and when it came back – because the speed was already in a good way – I lost the front.
“But tomorrow I need to pay attention.”