Besides the Ducatis, a fever also complicated things for Marc Marquez for the Mugello weekend. At the end of the day on Friday, the Spanish rider was sixth with a delay of three tenths from the top, but look out for his race pace, where he and Dovizioso seem to have a leg up on the group.
The challenge just began on Friday. Consequently, Marc sharpened his weapons for Saturday.
"All the Ducatis are very strong here at Mugello," stated number 93. "We saw that Pirro was fast, like Petrucci, but also Vinales' Yamaha. We know we have weaknesses on this track, but we're not that far behind. I wasn't at my best today, also because I worked more than anything else on the race pace. In fact, I didn't even mount the new tire at the end.”
Marc's attention shifts to the tires.
"I was fast for 5 or 6 laps, then the tires started to drop, so we have to evaluate this better. Certainly, as compared to 2018, the allocation of the front tires was good this year. Michelin should, in fact, complete the entire race, especially with the hard one. Last year, instead, they were getting worn a lot, while now we can manage everything to the fullest, and this is also thanks to the set-up."
As was mentioned, Marc's health conditions didn't play in his in favor.
"Unfortunately, when you have a fever, you're never at your best. You can be fast, but I lack constancy. I rode several laps at my best but, in others, I didn't. I went at about 80% to avoid taking unnecessary risks. Let's say that I'm a rider who always pushes to the max, so it's something unusual.Yesterday was the worst day for me, while I felt better today, and I hope even more so on Saturday.”
Among the topics for the weekend, the conditions of the track were discussed, especially the bumps.
"They're there, but the situation is not as disastrous as in Austin. If anything, the problem is that, in at least two points, at Turn 5 and Turn 12, the walls are too close together. If you lose your front, you'll crash into the barriers. It's true that there are air fences, but when you lose the bike, they don't help much."
On the opening day, the four-time world champion had to pursue, while at the same time trying not to tip his hand.
I'm working on several things. In the morning, with the medium tire, then the soft one. Saturday I'll finally concentrate on the hard tire. This is a particular track, where we have always suffered at top speed. Sometimes, it depends on the line you follow. Other times, the braking point. At the San Donato, I prefer to get brake with a straight bike, maybe losing a bit, but avoiding problems like in the past, like in 2013.”
Meanwhile, his teammate is called to the chase.
“It's true that a strong teammate allows you to always give it your all but, in these cases, I must say that experience has helped me grow and improve. Compared to 2015, I can now understand which problems the bike has, and I don't need a fast teammate to give me stimuli. My goal is always to win.”
Francesco Bagnaia is in the lead after the first day, followed by Fabio Quartararo. The rookie's performances did not go unnoticed by number 93.
"These young riders were very fast. When you race in Moto2, cornering is one of your strong points, and their experience in the intermediate class helps them in this case. It also happened to me the first year in MotoGP, then I lost that aspect to improve on other points. On a track like the Mugello, speed makes the difference."
The last topic relates to the engine of this Honda, which hit the competition hard.
"I had a lot of help in terms of horsepower, even if the traction is worse than last year. But this is the compromise that must be accepted. We must, therefore, try to adapt everything to the characteristics of the bike, more or less like Suzuki did."
Audio recorded by Matteo Aglio