Marquez, Honda find ‘something interesting’ in Austria MotoGP practice

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez says that he and Honda found “something interesting” while treating practice for this weekend’s Austrian MotoGP round as something of a test.

Still recovering from the broken arm which he sustained more than a year ago now, Marquez noted ahead of Round 11 at the Red Bull Ring that his focus is now on being ready for 2022.

Honda in general, having struggled even with the return of its six-time premier class champion, is very much of the same mindset.

Marquez, who has been riding with the Japanese marque’s new chassis and a number of new parts, qualified fifth for tonight’s (AEST) 28-lap race.

“Today in FP3, we continued working on trying big things, but sometimes when you try big things, it’s coming something interesting, and this morning happened something like this,” he explained after qualifying.

“I tried some big thing and the feeling was good and I kept going with that and in the afternoon the pace was a bit better than last weekend.

“It’s true that we don’t have a pace to fight for the victory, we don’t have a pace to fight for the podium, but we have acceptable pace to make acceptable race. So, we will see.

“It’s true that tomorrow [Sunday] will be different. Today [Saturday] was very warm [and] I think warm conditions helps a little bit us.

“But, still we need more and we need to continue in the same way because I ask to HRC [Honda Racing Corporation] that we need more – the bike is not ready to win – so they have a good reaction, they bring many new things, so you need to try the new things.

“It’s true that it’s not the best strategy to find the best results on Sunday, but somebody needs to do, and they choose that I’m the rider to do it.”

Marquez has, of course, been hampered by his own physical state, with lingering right shoulder weakness from the humerus breakage in July 2020.

He won the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring in June, but that circuit is predominantly left-handers and thus far easier on his body.

The Red Bull Ring, on the other hand, effectively only has two of those, plus the Turn 2 kink, and Marquez says he will have to conserve himself in the race.

He is also conscious of body positioning, having crashed at Turn 3 during Free Practice 4 when he lost the front of his RC213V.

“Today [Saturday], I feel a bit better than yesterday [Friday], but we will see tomorrow [Sunday]; I don’t know,” admitted #93.

“Every day when I get up, I check how it feels, but it’s true that all the race in the limit, I can’t in this circuit.

“In Assen, for example, I was able to ride fast during all weekend, but in this circuit, I need to be very careful on the brake points if I have some movement because it’s not that it becomes dangerous, it’s just I lose a little bit the position on the bike and then I go in on the corner with too much weight on the front and then it becomes risky to lose the front.

“So I need to be so concentrate, and is 28 laps concentrate to focus, and let’s see.”

The 28-year-old will start from fifth on the grid for the Austrian Grand Prix, which he deemed good enough under the circumstances.

His will be the sole Honda on the first two rows, which are filled out by the four current-spec Ducatis and championship leader Fabio Quartararo’s Yamaha.

“The main target today was try to be on the second row, this was the best target, because front row I knew was nearly impossible,” said Marquez.

“But, second row I feel that was more chance, and in the end we finished fifth, we will start fifth, these are good position to try to have less problems in the first corner, and then try to lose less time in the first laps.

“This will be important, to start well, be concentrate on don’t do any mistakes, not a lot, any mistakes during first laps, and try to follow them some laps.

“I mean, it’s true that we don’t have the pace for follow them all the race, but acceptable.”

Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin rode his Ducati to another pole position for tonight’s race, which starts at 22:00 AEST.

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