Marc Marquez didn't just beat his rivals at Losail today. The world champion came close to humiliating them, smashing the lap record during the second practice session.
The Spaniard closed almost half a second ahead of his closest rival Vinales, while Dovizioso finds himself almost nine tenths from the front at the end of day one. Jorge Lorenzo lies one seconds back, while Valentino Rossi is 1.7 seconds off the pace.
So it wouldn't appear that his shoulder, operated on in December, is posing too much of a problem for Marquez, who is determined to make his intentions clear early on in the championship.
"A great time, but I was able to do it thanks to Vinales who was a great reference at that point and was setting a good time himself. An important result, because I think it allows us to progress to Q2, but it's still only Friday, it wasn't fundamental to finish out front. This might allow us to work a little more in preparation for the race tomorrow though".
Who impressed you today?
"Vinales and Dovizioso and maybe Jorge. He started very well, he was up front in FP1 and that means he feels good on the bike. When you start like that, it means your comfortable and are working well, so I think he'll be quick tomorrow".
Is his work method very different to yours?
"Jorge and I are like night and day. At least in how we ride the bike. I do one thing, and he does the exact opposite. I'm aggressive while he's very smooth. He can be very fast through certain turns and me through others. We need time to understand, I'm looking at his data and vice versa. In time we'll understand".
It appears that Honda has put together a great bike for this season.
"Yes, we've closed the gap to Ducati in terms of top speed. We worked hard on that over the winter and have great power, and it's important to be close to Ducati in this respect. We've been working on this for a long while and have now managed it. But we still need to work on the front, we're not where I'd like to be yet. But that's normal, it's a race bike, it needs to be developed and continuously tweaked. But we've taken an important step forward with respect to the tests".
You seem in good shape, your shoulder issues now firmly behind you.
"As I said yesterday, I feel ready for the race. I might not be 100% just yet, as I worked in a different way this winter, but I feel ready to ride and this is good. Then it's important not to have any self-doubt, so that I can focus on improving the bike".
You've said you need to improve further. Does that mean you didn't push to the max today?
"No, I always push to the max. I'd like to be able to race more calmly, and lap in 1'53 or the low 1'54s with no effort, but that's not the case. I was pushing to the max, like my rivals. The bike has improved in terms of power, I have good sensations with regard to the steps we've taken with the setting. But despite this, the philosophy remains the same as last season. When we suffer, we suffer, but when we can attack, we will do so. This track is one where I suffer, it's tough for me. We're on the right path, but today is only Friday and we're all still on zero points. Sunday is the important day".