These days seeing two Hondas enter directly into Q2 is not a usual sight. Today, in India, both Marquez and Mir managed to do that, but this does not mean that the wind has changed. Marc is very precise on this point when he is asked to explain how it happened.
“It's always the same bike, in my opinion Joan is a very talented rider and when you arrive at a new circuit talented riders make the difference – was his opinion - This morning, especially, we were very competitive, in the afternoon we were further back and both Mir and I did the time behind Bezzecchi because we needed to follow someone. We're in Q2, but so is Quartararo, as I said, talent makes the difference on a new track."
So the bike hasn't changed a bit?
“I kept the basic setup I had worked on in Misano, Mir and Nakagami had already tried it and they liked it. Now we all use it, and it is also important for Honda that the riders all go in the same direction."
What do you expect from qualifying?
“Position on the grid is always very important, especially now that it applies to two races. Furthermore, on this track it will be difficult to overtake because when you go off the line it is dirty, and it is easy to make a mistake. The target for tomorrow is to be in the first three rows."
Then there will be the sprint race.
“If the race were now, I could fight for a good position, not for the podium, but better than the one in Misano. However, as we have seen, from FP1 to FP2 there have been big improvements and tomorrow another step forward will be made. I can't say what will happen because the others will always be faster."
Do you feel better on the bike?
“I pushed but, as in the last few races, I only did it at the right time, not on every lap. Just as much as I could and felt like it.”
What is your view of the track?
“Better than we all expected, they have done a great job in the last few months. Some things can be improved for next year, but right now we riders can only think about riding. I like the layout and the grip is better than I thought."
The first corner seems like a critical point.
“It's very easy to make a mistake in that braking, you just need to brake 2 or 3 meters later and you go wide. You have to be very precise, because if you brake a bit early then you're slow, at that point it's difficult to be consistent."
The temperature is scorching hot…
“It will be one of the problems on Sunday, compared to Malaysia and Indonesia the heat is different... it's very spicy! (laughs). It will be difficult, at Misano I suffered a bit of compartment syndrome, I don't usually have these problems, but I struggled with the bike. I don't have any problems with the heat though."
How did you get on with the hard tyre?
“That was my biggest surprise, usually that tyre doesn't work either with Honda or with my riding style. I'm happy with how it went today because I managed to adapt, even if we still lose too much in acceleration. Joan and I brake very hard and it's not the way to do 24 laps."