It was just over a minute to the end when Marc Marquez and Honda managed to get the best time in qualifying. But then the competition got in the way, stealing the lead, and he was relegated to a sixth place.
Magic Marc closes the second row of Le Mans on Saturday with just over four tenths from the time set by Fabio Quartararo’s Yamaha.
“I progressed in wet conditions this morning,” #93 began. “In these conditions, I’m at a more normal level with my body than when it’s dry. Personally, I’m quite satisfied, since I was curious to know if I was still able to ride in wet conditions or not. In the end, I was able to ride as I wanted when it was wet, and that first half in the FP3 was encouraging. In qualifying, I tried to do my best, but I struggled in some corners, found little grip, and lost several tenths.”
Qualifications aside, one of the hottest topics is your body.
“On a physical level, when I train in the gym, I reach 80% potential with some muscles, while with others at 50%. It really depends on the movements, since I struggle a lot more with the back of my shoulder. Two years ago, I had shoulder surgery and, even then, it was a long way. The fact is that, here at Le Mans, I only struggle in some turns, like at 1, 5, 8 while, in left-hand corners, I feel good, and I gain a lot of time. If you notice, I always fall in left turns, where I push the most. In right ones, on the other hand, I struggle.”
So, Marc tries to remain cautious, taking one step at a time.
“In these conditions, you have to try to adapt and, in the past, I did it well. At the moment, I don’t feel as comfortable as in the past. I can’t control the Honda like I want. Today, however, I felt good in the FP4, as well as in qualifying. Too bad I was one of the first to get a checkered flag, since I wanted to do another lap. But, in the end, being in the first two rows is excellent.”
Marc is already in a race perspective with his mind.
“For tomorrow, it’ll be important to follow the right strategy, trying to be fast and precise. In dry weather. I’ll try to survive, without pushing too hard with my muscles. It will definitely be complicated with rain, a risky race, with the possibility of falling. In some ways, dry is better for me, because it makes my body work harder. But if I had to choose, I’d say rain, because I have more possibilities.”
Meanwhile, the possibility of a flag-to-flag race must also be considered.
“I prefer either rain or dry. The flag-to-flag is not the perfect condition for me, because I struggle to control the bike that well, since I lack strength. Obviously, in case it happens, I’ll adapt.”
The conclusion concerns the expectations for the GP.
“Aim for the podium? At 95% , I’d say no on a dry track. When it’s wet, we could consider it, since there could be more possibilities. So let’s see what happens.”
In the meantime, Marc has returned to the bike he knows best.
“I’m back on the bike I know best. It’s helping me to adapt quickly to the track. The reason is the weather, the rain. It’s a bike I know best. So I’m not using something completely new in the rain. It’s a more critical bike, more physical than the one I had in Portimao or Jerez, but I understand it more. This doesn’t mean the result will be better, but it’s my bike for the future. It may not be the best for now, due to my physique and because it’s more tiring, but it’s my set-up for the future.”