Friday at Barcelona crowned Marc Marquez and his Honda. The Spaniard proved unbeatable in both sessions and not even a penalty, for not having slowed down when Baz crashed, could budge him from the top spot. It's not all over as far as the Spaniard's concerned.
The tyres were always going to be an unknown here, but the start has been positive.
“In testing we had different tyres and the work completed left me with good impressions - he recalls - here we only have one compound that right now seems to be positive. I have to say that the medium tyre works well on the right side but it's too soft on the left. Sensations are good anyway, tomorrow we'll see how the hard one behaves, as the temperatures will rise”.
What changes with this asymmetric tyre?
“The tyre has three bands instead of six. This means it's safer, but at the same time the choice is more complicated”.
While his Honda breaks away, the M1s must play catch-up.
“There are tracks where some bikes arrive better prepared, and then less so at others. Yamaha had lapped at Le Mans and was competitive from the start. The group will be more compact tomorrow".
The Yamaha rider who is furthest back right now is Vinales. But Marc is not about to underestimate him..
“I think Maverick will be on the front row by the end of qualifying - he revealed -Montmelo is one of those track where the tyre slides a lot, but the Yamahas have good pace. Temperatures will be higher tomorrow and we'll see what happens”.
At his last attempt, Marquez had to avoid Baz, a manoeuvre that cost him a few tenths as he received a penalty.
“I lost time there unfortunately. I saw Loris had crashed and passed him in the only way I could”.
This morning #93 had to deal with Miller, who failed to respect the new chicane on several occasions.
“Mamma mia (he smiles)! I was shocked, I saw him follow me and I thought he'd hit me when we reached the chicane. I thought he'd go straight but he didn't”.
Dani Pedrosa is further back, closing Friday in seventh place, more than six tenths from his team-mate.
How was the tyre work compared to the test two weeks ago?
“I haven't seen much difference, particularly due to the track conditions. I tried all the tyres anyway and tomorrow I'll have a clearer idea, as the temperatures will go up and the track will improve”.
Pedrosa was one of the first rider to question the condition of the track surface.
“This track has the biggest grip issues of all those on the calendar and it's old asphalt - he commented - we know that, it's nothing new. We have to work on the set-up. We have different areas on which to focus in order to be fast and improve”.
A resurfacing wouldn't be a bad idea.
“We've suggested it, every rider thinks it needs resurfacing. Montmelò is a well-used track, F1 races here too and many other cars throughout the year”.