After his second place finish at Assen it's time for Marc Marquez to get back to winning ways at the Sachsenring, his home turf at least in terms of his results. The Spaniard is keen to clock up his tenth consecutive victory in Germany. One problem might come in the shape of Quartararo though, who already beat him in FP1 today and is moving increasingly close to the world champion.
“He's very fast - remarks Marquez in reference to the French rookie – and his progression surely comes as a pleasant surprise to MotoGP but not to us, his rivals. He surprises me because he wasn't immediately quick with this type of bike and struggled over winter, but has then improved race after race. He's fast at every track and kept pace with me and Vinales today. We're very close, he riders the Yamaha very well and is demonstrating the bike's potential”.
Words of admiration for Quartararo then, Marquez also talking about the enormous pressure on the rookie's shoulders, considering he's the only French rider capable of winning.
“He's not under pressure because he's a rookie and is doing well, if he gets a top five finish it's already a good result, while a podium is a success and a win, let's not even talk about it. That was the same for me in 2013, any result you get is positive, now it's very different. In my opinion, with regard to pressure, his main problem is that he's the only Frenchman able to win right now, their only hope, and all that weight is on his shoulders. We Spaniards are luckier in one sense, as we divide the pressure between us, as do the Italian, because there are many of us. For him it might be more difficult”.
As for today, Marquez made a change to his routine, as he usually spends Friday focusing on race pace and riding solely on used tyres.
“I'm pleased with how today went. I even put in a new tyre to be faster, and my strategy for tomorrow is to continue to test the new tyres”.
The world champion also has two bikes with different frames at the Sachsenring.
“I still need to understand what to do but I know I have a good base. I can be fast with both frames and that's an advantage but also a weak point. Each specification has its pros and cons, we'll analyse them but I think I might continue to use both bikes tomorrow. I can feel the difference between the two frames, I can't explain exactly what but I can feel it. Right now, I'm the only Honda rider using it, Lorenzo tested it at Montmelò and in Holland when he crashed.
Many riders still seem to be in the dark with regard to tyre selection. What is Marquez thinking of doing?
“I don't know yet. I got on well with the hard at the front but the rear is an unknown. I used the medium this morning and the hard this afternoon. Tomorrow, we'll have to see”.
Audio recorded by Matteo Aglio