Marc Marquez admits he was pleasantly surprised to discover Michelin's new rear compound tyre had more grip than he had expected as he powered to a 0.706s advantage over the MotoGP field in free practice in Austin.
The four-time world champion was in typically stunning form around the Circuit of the Americas, shrugging of a fall at the final corner in FP2 to lower his fastest time by a further half second and take a commanding advantage into Saturday.
On Friday evening, Marquez explained how Michelin's new softer rear offered more grip but tyre life was still 'critical', something he must work on before qualifying.
“With this stronger construction I expected the grip to be less but it was more. Maybe because they adjusted it with the pressure, but the grip is quite good. Now we must understand the life of the tyre because this morning it was a problem.
“This afternoon was better but it is still critical. We will see tomorrow also because we will have the hard option. We will try it but it's not a problem for me to create these slides.
On acceleration, an area over which Marquez expressed concerns before the event, he stated that although he was a full 1.1 seconds faster than the next best Honda, he revealed that he is still losing out to Pedrosa on the exit of slow turns and in stopping speed.
“In acceleration when I compare data with Dani his is better. His stopping speed also. In the end you must gain in the corners when you lose in the acceleration. this circuit for example in the first gear corners, I try to brake, go wide and come back with speed.
“But to do these lines you must have a lot of confidence with the front because you must brake and go wide. When you go wide the track is dirty and you don't know. I'm going always more wide but it's related to the set-up also.
On lap times being considerably slower than 2015, he added, “The problem is that this year we cannot compare the lap times. We change the tyres. We have some strong points with Michelins and some weak points. Maybe one of the weak points is the front tyre.
“Here have many hard-braking points. Bridgestone we were braking very deep. In this one if you try to brake more deep you saw on the last corner. You must manage well. I think the lap record we will not arrive to it but, close.”
While not announced in an official capacity, it is widely recognised that all five 2016 Hondas are using a counter rotating crankshaft. Marquez acknowledged as much and mentioned some details of using this year's motor compared to the 2015 version.
“It looks like there is less stopping in the first gear corners. You must use more a Yamaha style, you go more wide in the corners, going more wide and prepare well the exit. In these tight corners I was able to turn quicker but now I need to go wide and come back so I change a little but the riding style but still it is good at this circuit.
“The speed is more related to the exit of the corner. We are struggling but in the first gear corners, using this line and coming more back, we are losing less. This is one thing. Then in the change of directions the bike looks slightly better. Last year was maybe faster changing direction. This year is slower but you can more keep the speed. It's strange. It's the character of the bike.”
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