Jorge Martin's body language when he entered the pits during FP2 in Qatar said it all: something was wrong, and the Spaniard was losing his composure. After all, seeing him last in the standings was an indicator that something wasn't going right. Luckily, in the end the situation returned to normal (or almost) and Martin with the 7th fastest time took a place in Q2, the most important target on Friday.
Jorge, what happened?
“As you could see, I struggled throughout the beginning of the practice and I still don’t know why, I think I found some tyres that didn't work because I risked crashing at every corner. I tried to stay calm, but it wasn't easy, until I realized something was wrong. When I put on other tyres I went fast, even if it wasn't easy, but I'm happy to go straight into Q2."
Was the problem with the front or the rear?
“Both, front and rear, I don’t know if it’s because I put them on in the morning, because I wanted to understand a bit for tomorrow’s qualifying. But I had two laps. So, it’s strange that in the evening it wasn’t working. I mean, I was four seconds, or three seconds from the first one. So, something was wrong for sure.
In fact, in the time attack you improved your times a lot.
“The last two runs, I was fast again. For sure coming from 1m56s to 1m53s is quite complicated, because I had no reference, I had no lines. So, it was really mental to understand really fast in two laps how to get to the limit… I wasn’t on the limit because I was in sixth or seventh, but quite close. I think this gives me confidence and I feel I did it in a really mature way, to not make any mistakes in this situation and do a fast lap.”
Did the thought of the title fight with Bagnaia contribute to making you lose your composure?
“I don’t think so. I think it’s because I was that slow that it was difficult to be calm. At some point, I said to Romagnoli (his crew chief, ed.) that ‘I won’t go on the track until you put on a new tyre because it’s useless, I’m going to crash, I’m going to get injured. So, it’s useless to be riding in 1m56s, so whenever you want to try the time attack I will go out there and do my thing’.”
How much will this bad day cost?
“I lost all the practice, and for sure, we don’t have a lot of information for tomorrow. At some point I tried the hard rear it was working more or less better than the used medium. So, maybe it’s an option. I don’t know. Having the Ducati information will help me a lot for tomorrow, because I think all of the riders tried different tyres. So, let’s try to understand and see what we can put tomorrow in the Sprint.”