Marc Marquez had a spring in his step following the conclusion of the Qatar MotoGP test after making a 'huge' step forward with the Repsol Honda on Friday.
Marquez climbed the time sheets to slot into fourth after a lap in 1m 55.402s, which although almost six tenths slower than reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo on the Movistar Yamaha, has given the Spaniard a massive lift after he struggled on the first two days of the test.
“I'm happier but it's still not enough because we must improve. After today, I am much more confident for the race because yesterday I left the circuit in the night because I was worried about our level and everything, but today we did a bigger step so I am happy with the final result,” Marquez said.
“We saw [progress] on the lap time but also on the pace. Also the last run that I did today was the run [when] I felt better and I did the best lap time and also I felt really good with the bike.
“Still [it is] not enough, still we must improve and still we need to work hard because in the end we are not P1. But we never, ever give up and always we try to push more. Today I want to say thanks to my team, Honda helped a lot, but especially my team worked really hard last night and today and they did a huge step on the set-up and it was working well,” added the two-time premier class champion.
Marquez feels the Qatar test was the first time when the electronics worked effectively on the RC213V, which allowed his team to plough more energy into the set-up of the bike.
“The problem is that when we arrive in Malaysia, we were struggling with the electronics and we concentrated only on the electronics on the three days,” he said.
“Then Phillip Island is a special circuit and it was working more or less well and here is the first circuit that the electronics is working good and we concentrated on the set-up of the bike.”
Marquez seized the chance to follow Lorenzo during the final test and although he was able to cling on to the YZR-M1, he revealed the Honda is still losing out significantly on acceleration.
“When I followed Jorge I was struggling especially where we know: on acceleration. But the thing is with the run we did behind him the bike was completely different than the last run that I did, when I felt better,” he said.
“I was able to follow him but we know that behind somebody, always it is easier so I was happy, but not really happy because this is not the way.
“Then we changed the set-up again and when I ride alone, I understand more things and then it was the time to have a smile on the face because that is when I start to feel well,” added Marquez, who was among the fallers at the Losail International Circuit.
“Today, trying to ride like [he did previously] on Bridgestone, I crash. In the brake point I was straight and I lose the front. So you must change the mentality and then I am riding in a different way like last year, but I start to have also the slides on the entry.”
The 23-year-old's confidence has been boosted to the extent that he isn't ruling out the prospect of a race win or a rostrum finish at least when the 2016 championship roars into life in Qatar in a few weeks' time.
“If we have the same conditions, yes [can podium or win] but always when we come back here, whether it's with Moto2 and Moto 3 with Dunlop rubber, it changes the set-up a little bit,” he said.
“We have to understand this well and we have a base, but the biggest question mark I have in my head is if we arrive in Argentina or Austin, will we need the same time as here to find the set-up, because if we need the same time, we have a problem because we don't have this time on a race weekend.
“But if we find a good base, then we have some chance.”
The factory Honda rider is also facing a 'strange' situation with his use of the '34 front Michelin, as he explained: “With '34, nobody ride, and I ride with '34 but with '36, everybody is riding and I cannot not use, so this is something that we must understand why.”
Marc Marquez's long run:
1. 2m 01.446
2. 1m 56.008
3. 1m 56.425
4. 1m 55.663
5. 1m 56.318
6. 1m 55.916
7. 1m 56.067
8. 1m 56.205
9. 1m 55.807
10. 1m 56.215
11. 1m 56.218
12. 1m 56.364
13. 1m 55.563