Even today, Marquez left the track a couple of hours before the end of the tests. He rode a handful of laps more than yesterday (37 instead of 29), and at a slightly lower time (1:59.790, a tenth and a half slower than the first day). Right now, time is the last of Marc's problems. He has to be careful not to tire out his recently operated shoulder, and, at the same time, sort out his ideas regarding the new features on the Honda.
“I've always slept like a baby. Now I wake up as soon as I move, but it's not a big problem,” he said as he smiles. “Honestly, I thought today was better because the start of the day was good, but then my energy immediately decreased, and I stopped. Unlike yesterday, my shoulder kept getting worse, and I preferred not to continue, so as to be ready for tomorrow. Right now, I have to do what my body tells me.”
The champion from Cervera has put aside his usual unconsciousness because the season is starting in just a month, and he can’t allow himself to make mistakes. This Sepang test, after a long winter hiatus, is not only an important test for his bike, but also for his body.
“It's worse than I expected, but better than what the doctors and my physiotherapist thought,” he explained. !Surely, I won't be able to do 20 laps in a row right now. Also, stopping and starting for me is a problem. I have to continue riding. If my shoulder cools down, it gets worse. I know that I still need to train my shoulder. Today, I had no strength, and I was in pain.”
This also forces him to change the way he works. He can’t continually bring his bike to the limit, and even a race simulation is excluded. So, he's trying other things.
“I'm attempting to try out the most important new features, especially regarding the engine, which is my priority at the moment,” he stated. “I can't ride as I like. I usually brake late. Instead, it's the opposite these days, also in changing direction, I have to go slow. It's definitely strange. It goes against my instinct. In this situation, it's best for me to go slower a few tenths and try out the important new features. It's a different way of working.”
After all, there's not much time and, without Lorenzo, there's also no time for nitpicking.
“We're trying out the most important things so that we can start out well in Qatar. Then, during the season, there'll be time to go into the details,” continued Marc. “We're especially working on exiting curves and also entering, in order to solve the small problems we had last year, even if it's not easy to sort out your ideas on this track with such high temperatures.”
Of course, the engine is the most important thing because it'll have to be decided quickly. Then, due to regulations, it can't be changed.
“We're looking for more power to improve maximum speed, but the risk is that the engine will become too aggressive,” reflected Marquez. “We're analyzing the data to understand how we can manage the torque, and, today, we decreased it so as to make the bike more controllable, but we still have to find the right direction. Also because I can't take advantage of the new tires. In those conditions, the bike becomes more aggressive and needs strength to control it, which I don't have. I'm working differently. I'm going slow with the new tires and pushing with the old ones.”
It's a race against time to fix both the bike and his body.
“In Qatar, I won't be at my best, but I hope that my physical condition won't be a problem. The goal is to get to Argentina in perfect shape, but all I can do is wait, for now,” he stated.
His last words are about his rivals.
“It's always difficult to analyze the situation during the tests, but I think both Yamahas will be ahead and surely also Dovizioso will be there, and Suzuki is not doing badly with Rins."
In his opinion: “A new season begins, but the top players will always be the same.”