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Qatar MotoGP: Marquez up front and feeling good
5 April 2013
MotoGP rookie Marc Marquez stole the limelight during the second night of the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.
Fourth and over half-a-second off the pace of Yamaha's reigning title holder Jorge Lorenzo on Thursday, the Repsol Honda team made Marquez feel more 'comfortable' in FP2 and FP3.
The Moto2 champion responded by setting sizzling laps at the end of each session, which saw him end the night just 0.001s clear of Lorenzo.
But the most impressive factor was the gap between Marquez and the other RCV riders. Team-mate and last year's title runner-up Dani Pedrosa was next best, in sixth place on the timesheets.
“Today the most important is that I feel so good on the bike,” said Marquez. “From the beginning we tried some different things. I felt so good, so comfortable.
“I did just one fast lap in FP2. In FP3 I did some more quick laps. Generally now we have a good base, but we need to try some more things tomorrow because we can improve in terms of 'safety' and consistency.
“The most important thing is that practice-by-practice I feel better on the bike and my riding style is more 'MotoGP'”.
Saturday will mark the debut of MotoGP's new knockout style qualifying session.
Unlike F1 and WSBK, the top ten riders after free practice are already guaranteed a place in the grid deciding final (Q2) session, meaning the only other Saturday track time for the leading riders will be a short final free practice.
“We will see what happens tomorrow. I'm concentrating on our work. We must make the most of the 30 minute (FP4) session before qualifying. The main thing is to be ready for the race - to be clear about the tyres and everything,” he said.
Lorenzo was the last MotoGP rookie to qualify on pole for his first event, at Qatar in 2008.