Marc Marquez said he had no answer to pole man Jorge Lorenzo's blistering qualifying lap at Valencia, but the MotoGP world champion is confident he has the pace to challenge for victory in the final race of 2016.
Marquez's time of 1m 29.741s left him 0.340s behind the Movistar Yamaha rider as he qualified in second place on the front row.
The Repsol Honda star was unable to use his first choice RCV in Q2 following a spill in FP4, but Marquez is satisfied with his rhythm and is predicting a close battle with Lorenzo in Sunday's season finale.
“Today I tried really hard to be on the pole but today we had a rider who was faster than me, who was Jorge. I already know that it would be difficult to be on the pole because for some reason here, on one lap the Yamaha bikes are very strong. I'm happy with the rhythm because I feel good and we will see tomorrow,” he said.
“I was angry because for some reason this weekend I feel much better with that bike that I crashed than the other bike. Then I was angry because I know that qualifying practice was coming and I wasn't able to use the first bike. I used the second bike and in the end it is more or less the same, but sometimes you feel a little bit better with another bike. Tomorrow we will race with the bike that I crashed today,” Marquez added.
“I expect a dry race and a tight race with Jorge because the rhythm is very similar. I will try to be there with him, but of course I will try to change the final result of last year and try to be on the top and we will try, but we cannot forget Valentino [Rossi] and [Maverick] Vinales also.”
Marquez knows it will be crucial to hang on to Lorenzo on the opening lap to prevent the Yamaha rider escaping at the front, meaning a fast start will be essential.
“Jorge here is very strong from FP1. It looks like he has a very good pace, so I need to pay attention at the start and try to follow him, try to push on the first lap especially, because if I lose two seconds then it will be difficult to recover,” he said.
“It will be a great show I think because I have nothing to lose, it is the last race and I think it will be a nice race.”