Marc Marquez’s Catalan MotoGP has gotten off to a terrible start as he crashed in practice one.
Although Marc Marquez was the top Honda rider on Friday in Catalunya, the challenges with the factory’s MotoGP program were clearly seen as all four RCVs finished near the bottom of the time sheets.
It was possibly the biggest test of Marquez’s “new approach” since the Sachsenring attempt not to overpower the bike and risk further injuries while competing in front of his home fans.
After crashing with Miguel Oliveira in the opening race of the season in Portimao, Marquez initially broke the first metacarpal of his thumb in his right hand.
The eight-time world champion had to skip the next three races before making a comeback at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans.
However, after Marquez crashed in FP1 this morning, concerns have been raised that he might have worsened the injury.
Marquez tumbled at turn five, bringing his year’s total to 17, and he was down in 21st place towards the closing stages of the morning practice. The crash was once again a consequence of switching between the two Honda aero packages.
“I did the same mistake as Austria [after] changing the aerodynamic,” Marquez said. “It’s a big change and it’s changing a lot on riding style.
“And exactly as in Austria, I jump to the big one again and on that change of direction between 4 and 5 I was too slow – because you need to force more the bike – and then went wide.
“I was not pushing a lot. But I take a bump and I lose the front.
“I was the only Honda to try the [aero] back-to-back. But it’s important to do. We believe in our garage, the team that it is important to do, but in the afternoon I concentrated only with the big one and was much easier for me.”
Marquez subsequently was observed holding his right hand as he arose from the fall, even though it didn’t appear to be serious.
The Hondas are notably struggling in the long turns, according to Marquez, as the Yamaha riders right in front of them struggled with rear traction.
“More than the grip of the track it’s the layout,” he said. “Because the layout is all long corners and long corners is where we lose.
“If we can make the stop and go. If we can make a quick pick up, there it’s acceptable. You can manage a bit the problems and you can brake later.
“But when it’s long corner like in sector 2, we are losing 0.6 only in three corners.
“Those corners are not so difficult for the rider, it’s just go wide, keep the gas and just wait until you have the grip. But we are losing only 0.6 in three corners.
“The rest of the circuit we are losing acceptable things. But it’s there where we expected to suffer and we are suffering. And even for my riding style it’s not the best track, so it’s multiplied.
“I’m playing with the bike and I feel the bike. But the performance is not there and the result is not there. The lap time never arrives, so it’s is difficult.
“We need to keep working, for tomorrow the situation will not change, but definitely we need to keep going because still remain many races before 2024.
“But it’s true that in Misano we will try the new bike [at the test] so we will see if it’s an extra boost for the future.”