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MotoGP, Marc Marquez: "Now we are at the most difficult moment, the last three tenths"

And on his first crash on a Ducati: "My first thought was to know the limits of this bike, today I took risks. Now the next lesson will be to fight with rivals in the race." Alex Marquez: "We had few tyres, I did the time attack too early"

MotoGP: Marc Marquez:

Marc Marquez sent a clear signal at the end of the second day of testing in Qatar: with a time of 1'51.335 he was fourth, a few tenths behind the official Ducatis and Espargarò's Aprilia. The GP23 is liked by the eight-time world champion who is competitive on the fastest lap, while step by step the Spaniard is making this Ducati his own on which, he admits, he still makes some careless mistakes. There was also a crash at turn 4, his first on the Borgo Panigale machine, which by his own admission was linked to the search for the limits of this bike. So perhaps this is the summary of the second day of testing in Lusail for Marc on the GP23, which in this search for limits and those three tenths of a gap embodies all the desire of the Spanish champion to rediscover the pleasure of riding at the highest levels.

"Before the start of the season I was calm - explained Marc - I knew that by working calmly step by step we would improve. In some moments we were far away but it was necessary to fully understand all the individual steps to fully understand this Ducati which for me is completely new. Today was the day to take risks and that's what I did, on the fastest lap we improved and even on long distances we made progress. I also had my first crash with the Ducati but that's normal because today I took a few more risks. Overall, however, I'm satisfied, even if clearly there are at least 5 or 6 riders faster than us, in particular Bagnaia, Bastianini and Martin."

Having taken more risks, even with a crash, is perhaps a sign that the Spaniard is becoming his usual self again.

"It's clear that it would be preferable to never crash, but when I realized that I was too wide my first thought was: "ok, what are the limits of this bike?". I was doing a 12-lap distance test, even though I would have liked to do 18, and so I thought about trying to push myself further, but I lost the front at turn 4. I think that is also an important thing to understand, up until now I have ridden delicately, without ever attacking for the last tenths. In this sport we always say that the most difficult moment is the last three tenths, and now that's where we are, a few tenths behind the official Ducatis. Now we have to understand how to get closer to them."

The talk then revolved around the physical condition of the Spanish rider.

"I prepared well during the winter, my arm isn't causing me problems even if it's clear that after four operations it needs a little more attention than the other riders. When in the preseason you train to do 20 laps and everything goes well, it means that the physical form is good. It was a shame about that interruption caused by the red flag, I would have liked to try a longer distance."

Now that Marc Marquez seems to have understood how to exploit the competitiveness of his GP23 on the flying lap, the next challenge will be the direct battle in the race with the other riders.

"That will be another important lesson, seeing how the bike behaves in the slipstream of our rivals, understanding how to approach overtaking with this bike. I also admit that sometimes I still forget to remove the lowering device, it works differently and having to also change the maps while I was trying the long distance I forgot about it. It is clear that I will make mistakes in the race, it is possible, but it is part of the learning process. There will also be races in which I will suffer, difficult days will come because I still have many things to learn, but my goal at the moment remains to have fun on this bike and today it was like that."

There were some difficulties instead for Alex Marquez, who at the end of the test session finished in 13th place. The Spaniard explained what the crucial points were, including tyre management in the time attack.

"We know we are in difficulty - said Alex - after yesterday's crash we were more cautious with the front today. It was a strange day of testing, we tried the soft early because we didn't have enough tyres, so we spent a long time with used tyres. We did the time attack too early when the track didn't have much rubber, then we worked on the long race, there too we encountered some problems, such as rear chatter, which however is positive because now we will have time to analyse the data and find solutions. The sensations in general were good."


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