Battle has commenced at Jerez, and Marc Marquez has every intention of playing a starring role. His current position on the timesheets, second, proves this and the Spaniard's first impressions appear very positive. He also sends a warning to his rivals.
“I'm pleased because the team has done a great job, particularly on entry when I can manage the engine better. I had the same problem in Argentina that I had at Austin, just I was able to manage it better. But we've taken a big step forward now and are on the right path to having a bike that is capable of winning anywhere. Work back at base in Japan has gone well, and been done quickly, something that motivates and reassures you”.
Marc has no shortage of rivals though...
“It's too soon to say but it looks like the factory Ducatis are quick, also in terms of pace. Crutchlow and Lorenzo have set good times too, Jorge particularly in the morning. The battle looks to be between Ducati and Honda, but we can't forget the Yamahas, I folloed them and you can see they have the potential to run at the front”.
#93 has one eye on Lorenzo, another possible frontrunner.
“I followed Jorge to understand and was able to see his strengths and weaknesses, which I'm not going to reveal. He's very fast on entry, even with a bike as tricky as the Honda, I don't know what tyre he was using but this quality of his is nothing new. He's always been quick at tracks that offer good grip, I wouldn't be surprised if he's at the top in FP3 tomorrow, but for now I'm more worried about the three guys ahead of me in the championship”.
One variable that could affect everyone is the asphalt of course, certain sections of the track having been resurfaced.
“The grip varies greatly between the old asphalt and the new, so you need to adapt to that with both the set-up and your riding style."
Marc is also thinking ahead to the race, the soft tyre solution seemingly not an option.
“I don't think it's usable. I tried all the compounds today with the right temperature. I made two exits with the soft, but was faster with the used hard tyre. Things change over the weekend, but for now the soft is not an option for the race”.
In conclusion, Marquez comments on the words of Oliveira, who has confessed he's studying him to try and see how to improve on board the KTM
“I don't know his bike so it's difficult to offer advice. I think the first thing to do is study the best KTM, or rather that of Espargarò, and then once you're at his level, try to improve further. The KTM resembles the Honda but has a different frame”.
Audio recorded by Matteo Aglio