Marc Marquez anticipates a challenging Q1 at Catalan MotoGP

Marc Marquez anticipates a challenging Q1 at Catalan MotoGP

Marc Marquez admits he anticipated a challenging Catalan MotoGP as he faces a second consecutive Q1 appearance on Saturday.

Six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez was the biggest name to miss out on Q2 for the second round running after finishing 12th in the second Friday practice session at the Catalan MotoGP topped by the retiring Aleix Espargaro.

Given Espargaro’s personal connection to the track and the strength of his RS-GP on its low-grip running setup, the Aprilia rider’s success was anticipated; yet, teammate Maverick Vinales barely made it into the top 10.

Meanwhile, Marquez was anticipated to challenge for his maiden MotoGP victory aboard the Desmosedici when it arrived in Barcelona after finishing on the podium in both the Jerez and Le Mans grand prix. Although he has previously secured two wins in the premier class at Catalunya, the circuit has always been a tough track for the six-time MotoGP world champion. However, he downplayed this ahead of the event.

After finishing second in FP1, Marquez battled to finish 12th in the afternoon session on Friday, missing the top 10 by less than a tenth of a second. As a result, he will have to go through Q1 again, as he did last time in France.

The Gresini Ducati rider narrowly missed crashing into his teammate and brother Alex Marquez who crashed at Turn 10 right in front of his brother, but Marc anyway did not look on pace to force his way into the top 10, consistently losing time through the lap despite being reliably fast in the first sector.

“What happened is what we expected,” he said after practice. “Of course we tried to avoid, but we expected that we would struggle here in Barcelona.

“We struggled less than what we expected, because on the race pace and with the medium tyre I feel ok. But it’s true that on that time attack, we lose just for one tenth that Q2. But tomorrow will be the worst practice, nightmare practice [Q1] of the weekend.”

Marquez claimed that he is having trouble braking on the GP23 in Barcelona, which has been a recurring issue for riders using that Ducati model for the entire year. He also thinks that in order to find an improvement, both his riding style and the bike need to be examined overnight.

“I mean, of course my style is ‘special’, which is working in most of the tracks,” he added. “But there are three, four tracks on the calendar that it works less.

“So, the good thing is that it’s only three, four tracks. But we need to understand well tomorrow.

“This morning I go out and I felt super good. But this afternoon for some reason, in the third run I felt not so good. But this morning the riding style was working well. So, we need to work on both aspects.”

Marquez started the French Grand Prix from 13th on the grid and finished second in both races despite failing to advance past the first round at Le Mans.

When asked if his experience at Barcelona on Friday was better or worse compared to what happened at Le Mans, he stated that one major distinction between then and now is that his crew was aware of the set-up adjustment that went wrong in France.

Marquez further cast doubt on a similar charge through the field at Le Mans for Saturday’s Catalan MotoGP Sprint, with the Spaniard only certain of his pace being good enough to finish between fifth and seventh.

“Depends on qualifying practice, but if we can have a good qualifying practice and start on that third row, for example, our potential is to be in fifth, sixth, seventh at the moment,” he added. “Not better, but it’s a good result here in Montmelo because it looks like KTM and Aprilia here are working better.

“But it’s a different race track and you need to find a balance for the whole calendar. So, yeah, here we are struggling more than on the other tracks but we are not far.”

Leave a Reply