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Qatar MotoGP Test: Fright night! Marquez suffers three Sunday falls

"I'm a rider that from the first to last lap, is always on the limit... people will just see the crashes, but for rhythm we are not so bad" - Marc Marquez.
Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez finished 2017 pre-season testing with a night to forget after falling three times from his Repsol Honda.

Sixth on Saturday, the Spaniard had approached the final night with optimism after making 'step-by-step' progress after a difficult start with his RC213V.

But the spate of falls unsurprisingly interrupted Marquez's plans - including the loss of a race simulation - and he finished the night in tenth place, albeit just 0.660s from pace setter Maverick Vinales.

"The last day was not the best of the pre-season!" said Marquez, still smiling despite the mishaps. "It was quite difficult, because I crashed, especially in the last hour I crashed twice. On the long run I lost the front. It was my mistake, but better to happen now.

"Here you have many accelerations, a lot of corner speed and we are losing in those areas. Then you try to push everything on the brake point and it is more critical.

"The point is I'm a rider that from the first to last lap, is always on the limit. I try to be there in a good lap time, in 1m 55s. But this is a risk. Of course it's easier to be in '56s and then push for one or two laps. But I'm working for the race.

"The first crash at the end of the night was trying some special thing and the bike did something strange, but the second was my mistake.

"But it's better to have all the problems in these three days, because on the first day it was like everything was in the opposite way. When you start the test in not a good direction, with not so good feeling, then it's difficult to re-adjust everything.

"We lost one day and a half with a stupid thing, which when we changed the bike changed completely. Today we tried to recover all this time we lost, but there was not enough time.

"I think we still miss some small things that we must manage in the race weekend."

Nonetheless, Marquez feels there is only one rider currently out of his reach in terms of race pace.

"Okay, people will just see the crashes, but for the rhythm I think we are not so bad," he declared. "It's strange to say, because we are far [on the timesheet] but for race rhythm there is one rider who is faster than the others - that is Vinales - but then we can fight."

In-between his spills, Marquez got the chance to try a new (wingless) Honda fairing.

"The intention was try to improve a little bit the top speed. Trying to improve also maybe the wheelie. Was some positive points, but in another ways we had some negatives."

Given the winter dominance of Vinales, might Marquez have to revise last year's successful strategy of accepting points when fighting for the win is too risky?

"We don't know. The championship is really long. Of course we will be not the strongest every weekend. In Malaysia I felt really strong, Phillip Island really strong. Here maybe is a circuit I feel we are more far, but already last year we were struggling a lot here," Marquez replied.

"So we will see during the races and when we arrive in Europe. Today this test was not the best for me and the team, but we will try to manage in a better way for the race weekend."

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa put in a late surge to claim third place on the timesheets, just 0.139s from Vinales.

The season-opening night race takes place on March 26.






Tagged as: Honda , Marquez

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