Team Estrella Galicia 0,0's Alex Marquez is full of confidence ahead of the opening round of the Moto2 World Championship in Qatar after completing a strong pre-season testing programme.
Marquez, fastest in the Jerez test, was third quickest at Losail in Qatar in the weather-interrupted final winter test of 2017, lapping in 2m 0.427s as he finished two tenths off the pace of Takaaki Nakagami on the combined times.
“I'm really happy with how the pre-season testing has gone; I was quickest in Jerez, third here despite the weather and my pace was also good at the two private tests in Spain,” Marquez said.
“I feel really confident, I feel comfortable on the bike and the lap times seem to come easily, but we know we can improve further during practice for the first race.
“I'm looking forward to this weekend, because race weekends are more enjoyable than testing, and I'm completely motivated to fight for a good result,” he added.
“Of course, to finish on the podium in Qatar would be the perfect way to start the season, but I'm sure there are plenty of other riders who are thinking exactly the same.”
His team-mate, Franco Morbidelli, was second quickest overall and fastest on Sunday, setting his best time on Saturday before high winds plagued the final day, when a sandstorm and thunder and lighting eventually saw the third Moto2 session called off.
“This has probably been the best pre-season for me since I started racing in Moto2 and it's been really encouraging ahead of the first few races of the season,” he said.
“I'm very happy with the job we've done, but now we need to focus on the racing, starting this next weekend in Qatar. People always talk about potential championship contenders going into a new season but there is some competition this year, so we won't really get a feel for this until we're four or five races into the championship.
“There are probably four or five riders who I'll be keeping any eye on, including my team-mate, as Álex has been very fast during testing this season. But testing is one thing and racing is another, and I'm looking forward to the weekend ahead here in Qatar.”