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MotoGP, Marc Marquez: “I'm still stiff on the bike, I ride the Ducati as if it were a Honda”

“I'm starting to have more fun, but I need time to understand rear grip and how to take advantage of the new tyres. Anyone who talks about making a clean sweep must forget it: I'm not fast enough to win the World Championship."

MotoGP: Marc Marquez: “I'm still stiff on the bike, I ride the Ducati as if it were a Honda”

You have to scroll down the rankings to fourteenth position to find the best time set by Marc Marquez on this second day of testing in Sepang. Despite not having encountered any technical problems today, the Gresini team rider ended the day almost a second from the benchmark set by Enea Bastianini, working mainly on the long distance.

“It was a better day than yesterday, because I felt much better and was able to complete a lot more laps. Maybe even too many, given that I did 72. I don't know how tomorrow will go, but today I felt like it. In the last part of the day I had one tyre for the time attack. I decided to do 10 laps, the sprint race, because I feel it was necessary to understand this bike with more laps in a row - explained Marc – And in fact during the sprint race I was starting, going slower, and in the end faster. So that means I was understanding the bike better lap by lap. I was struggling a lot on the time attack. It's where I'm struggling more because it's the most difficult to understand for the rider, how to use the new tyre to the bike. Because the rhythm and the pace with the used tyre, you have a lot of laps. You have 15 laps. But for the time attack you only have two laps and after two hours you have another two laps for a time attack. So it's where I still need to understand how to use a tyre."

Lap after lap, the eight-time world champion is increasingly comfortable on the Desmosedici GP23, but he still has to understand how to make the most of his Rossa.

“I used a standard set-up of the other Ducati riders, because I don't want to use another set-up and lose my way. Especially since I also used this set-up yesterday and today I went better, which shows that I'm starting to understand the bike better" declared the eldest of the Marquez brothers, who agrees with Marino's view according to which the Ducati uses the rear tyre in a totally different way compared to the Honda:I agree with Luca, because the way to use the rear tyre is completely different. For that reason still I'm riding the Ducati like Honda. In Valencia it was okay but here, no. And now I need to take out the habit of 11 years that's gone by. So this is difficult. When you are in the rhythm it's easier because you have more time. But when you are on a time attack, you are not thinking, you are going by instinct. And if I'm riding by instinct I'm riding like Honda. But it's not the best way to ride this bike. So step by step, it's a process.”

Despite this, the Spanish rider does not seem to be particularly affected by the fact of having to stop the Desmosedici with the rear rather than the front of the bike.

“The way to stop the Ducati bike is different , but on the brake point I'm not losing. It’s the opposite, I'm gaining compared to other Ducati riders. Still I need to understand the rear grip because it's a lot, but you need to understand how to use. And it's for that reason with a used tyre I'm able to be in a good pace, but with a new tyre I still don't take enough profit. But to stop the bike, I understand better and better step by step. In the first part of the day I was struggling but this second part of the day was better. At the moment where I'm losing more is the exit of the corner, especially on the fast corners. In slow corners I'm fast but on the fast corners where you need to have the confidence of the bike to push and it's where I am still struggling.”

Marc's apprenticeship is progressing well, but the Gresini team rider is aware that he needs time and laps to best prepare for the start of the season.

“Still, I am stiff on the bike. Today I started to enjoy it a bit. That’s why I did 10 laps in a row. At the moment, I need laps. Maybe I did too much because tomorrow I will feel it! - explained the Catalan, outlining his plan for the last day of testing in Sepang - Tomorrow all the riders will do a time attack in the morning. I will try to concentrate because this is where I suffer more. I am far from the top guys. But this is the normal procedure. It was not normal in Valencia when immediately I was fast. Normal procedure, when you take a new bike, is understanding new things. With a used tyre it is easier to understand because you have 15 laps to work. The programme will be to do a time attack. I was planning to do another long run but I don’t know! I am feeling the physical condition!”

Everyone expects a lot from the eight-times world champion after his change of jersey, but he prefers to continue to dampen enthusiasm.

“I said at the team presentation and I repeat it every time that the expectations are very high, but I'm a realist. I've come from 3 or 4 of the most difficult years of my racing career, in which I didn't have top-level performances, and I need to find my self-confidence again. Those who talk about making a clean sweep must forget it, because there will be races in which I will finish 5th or 10th, others in which I will fight up front and still others in which I will suffer and have to face Q1 - Marquez reiterated firmly - As much as the bike has changed, as much as this is all fresh air, I need my time. As I said at the time, I changed to regain motivation and continue competing, not for anything else. The World Championship is won without making mistakes, but to do that you also have to be fast and it's clear that I can't think about that at the moment, because I'm not fast enough to fight for the championship."


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