Marc Marquez foresees a difficult day of racing ahead as he bids to defend his Superprestigio title after topping the practice time sheets for the 2015 event on Friday evening.
Having spent the past few days honing his dirt track approach while sharing his practice track in Rufea with American specialists Jared Mees and Brad Baker, Marquez feels the level of competition is higher in its third year.
Five times a MotoGP winner this year, Marquez also admits the element of luck plays a part in the incredibly short laps of the track situated in the Palau Sant Jordi stadium in Barcelona.
Marquez's fastest time came in at just 11.7s, a tenth faster than countryman Toni Elias and 0.2s faster than dirt-trackers Baker, Ferran Cardus and Mees.
“This is the third edition and every year I enjoy it a lot,” said Marquez, speaking in the pre-event press conference. “You are in a different kind of track, a different mentality. This is really good for us and it looks like it's getting bigger every year. It also looks like the level is going up and growing a lot.
“It will be even more difficult this year but we will try to do our best as always. Dirt track races are very short, the start is very important. Sometimes you really need this luck, like I had last year. I was able to win but when you consider the start I nearly crash, went wide. They are interesting races and really, really tight.
“The thing is with dirt track, it's easy when you ride alone. The most difficult is when you ride with the other riders and you overtake. This will be the biggest challenge on Saturday.”
At the behest of Mees, Marquez swapped machines with the American while the pair were practicing in Rufea, something that opened the number 93's eyes, in terms of bike behaviour.
“He asked me to swap the bikes and I agreed. It was really interesting because it's a completely different bike. OK, it's a Honda but everything is completely different. It looks like his bike has a lot of grip. I am riding mine more with the front wheel.
“Maybe because in MotoGP we are pushing more the front wheel while they're using more the rear on the dirt. It's an interesting thing to consider next year. It was a nice time because we then discussed the strong points of each bike. We have to be careful because all these guys are really fast.”