The first day of practice runs at Termas de Rio Hondo has ended, and everyone can undoubtedly smile in Marc Marquez's pit. In fact, if the ranking speaks of an eighth place that is apparently disappointing, the results of the race paces flirt with number 93, who can, therefore, be considered (at least for now) the rider to beat during the weekend.
"The bike has changed a lot from one turn to the next, and we've improved a lot with the grip," stated Marc. "So I'm happy. This morning, I immediately felt strong, and was able to follow my lines. It's true that I'm currently the fastest with my pace, but it's only Friday. It would be nice if it were still like this after the warm up. Finding my limit when the grip is minimal is one of my strong points, but I'm sure everyone will get closer because the grip on the track will constantly improve."
Marquez keeps his guard high, while remaining aware of his possibilities.
“Dovizioso is close in a circuit where he struggled last year. We were fast in the tests. Even if we suffered, we were in front in Qatar, and we seem to be fast here. "This is our goal. To be constant on all the tracks we'll come upon."
The tires are still a hot topic, but Marc seems to not have the slightest problem, for now.
"All the tires are working well, so far. Michelin brought a series of tires similar to last year's," he explained, "which resemble those they had in Qatar, except for a harder compound for the front. I feel good, but we have to consider how the sensations felt this morning are very different from those in the afternoon, and I believe that by increasing the grip, the tires will work differently."
Some have complained about tire life, for example, but the rider from Cervera doesn't seem to be among them.
"I didn't have any problems with the tires. It's easy to be fast in a lap on this track. It's not so easy being constant. It's a track that expects a lot from the tires, and we're working precisely towards this. At the moment, we proved to be fast, but there’s still a lot to do."
Marc continued to analyze his day, intelligently, backed by a strategy for a well-established weekend.
"It depends on the circuit, even if, a priori, the best strategy to be implemented over the weekend would be that of 2018," confirmed Marc, "given that we always need to work for the race and, in doing so, we’ve achieved many positive results. There are tracks where, for some reason, it's important to be ahead of the game starting Friday. Here, I thought I'd end the day fifth or sixth, but I almost ended up out of the top ten."
Supporting number 93 along his course is Honda, which seems to have improved, as the Spanish rider himself confirmed.
"The new bike is an evolution of the previous one, always remaining on the line that was followed during the past seasons. The direction taken is a good one," he affirms. “For example, we've improved when it come to the engine."
In conclusion, Marquez reflects on the narrow margin between the top and the bottom of the grid.
"This is a short circuit, which allows everyone to be more or less equal. Making a quick lap here is easier than in Qatar, since we don't only have a line to follow where we can be fast and with many slow corners, but I believe that, during the race," he concluded, "the difference will be clearer."