The Qatar tests were marked in red on Marquez's calendar, because the Losail track has always been a sticking point for the Honda. At the end of the three-day test, Marc is more optimistic because the work has brought its results.
He finished 6th today (7th overall) but it was the consistency, and those all important tenths, that really mattered, something he'd been looking for since setting foot on the track.
“I’m satisfied with how our pre-season went in general. We’ve worked a lot on our race pace, which is the most important thing in the end. It’s true that we’ve struggled a bit here in Qatar, but we’re happy anyway, as today in particular we took a step forward and I was able to lap consistently enough"
The main aim at a track where Dovizioso and the Ducati are particularly at ease. It's not that simple though...
“Perhaps I lost a little potential on the flying lap, but I improved our pace and that's what I was looking for, to be closer to the Ducatis. I couldn't carry out a race simulation, only a long run. And with a bike I didn't know well, because we weren't really sorted and had things to test”.
Another important point on his list was to check the power delivery of his new V4 in cooler temperatures.
“You need to have the right touch with this engine. It's a little aggressive, but the season is long and we'll have time to improve its character as we've done here. When you first touch the gas, it's a bit too reactive and we're carrying out some tests, it will be interesting to see where we can end up”.
the final component tested today was the carbon swing arm.
“Today we also tried the carbon swing arm in just one run, and I managed to ride quite fast, though we need to work more on that" he concludes.