After a strong test in Sepang, Marquez remained a top ten contender for Ducati throughout the two-day test in Portimao, the same venue as next week’s MotoGP season-opener.

Quick in both qualifying and race trim, Marquez believes his current potential is to fight for the top five, which is a drastic improvement compared to his pre-season expectations when riding for LCR Honda. 

Speaking about his preparation for the new season, his first with a different manufacturer, Marquez said: "You would always like to be a little more prepared and have two more days of testing, or a hundred more days, but they are limited and I think we arrive prepared and in a good position, with everything well and quite clear. 

"That's important. If it were today, we would be fighting in the top 5, but we will have to see how it goes in the GP, day by day and being realistic. 

"Is my goal in the top 5? In the long term, no, but it is after three or four races when you set the goal. 

"Who expected Bastianini in the top three last year? Almost no one. Day to day is where you see how things come and you have to be prepared. You don't have to think too much about the future and eat your head more than necessary."

While fighting for top five results in the Grand Prix’ is Marquez’s early season target, the added element of Sprint races can’t be ignored as a chance to gain further points on any given weekend.

Marquez was again competitive in this scenario, however, a fall during his day-two Sprint simulation meant a true reflection of his pace compared to others was difficult to gauge. 

"I didn't finish it because I had a fall at the end," said Marquez. "I was doing 39.2 and 39.3 and I still had one lap left. 

"I saw that I had margin and I wanted to go for the 39.0, but I went a little long in the first corner, I entered too inclined on the outside part not to touch the green and I fell. 

"But it was nothing and I went back to the box on a motorcycle. This second fall counts as such, but not entirely."

Marquez lists MotoGP rivals, but is his brother Marc included?

With Honda struggling, and both Ducati and Aprilia seemingly a step ahead of its competition, Marquez should be in contention for big points early on.

Listing world champion Francesco Bagnaia as one of the main favourites alongside Bastianini despite Portimao being a tough test for the Italian, Marquez was keen to point out that his brother can’t be ruled out.

"We were both tired, but my brother told me yesterday that I was going fast," added the former Moto2 and Moto3 champion. "I asked him how it had gone and he told me that he had tried many things on the bike and that not everything worked. 

"They were general comments, because we are in different factories. They are suffering and they are in a difficult situation, but I know Marc and what he does in GP. I know it will get better."

"Pecco is strong, the Aprilia too, Aleix, Maverick and Oliveira, Martin of course and Bastianini although suffering something more. 

"First Pecco, second Martin, the Aprilia and us. And Quartararo too, because in the end he did a good lap and he had left it to me, because he had been missing until that lap."