Marc Marquez: “I struggle a lot here, Alex Rins doesn’t” | “Sorry to Vinales"

Fellow Honda rider Alex Rins may have been third in Friday practice, but Marc Marquez claims he is only targeting between fifth and tenth place in this weekend's Italian MotoGP.

The Repsol Honda star, who battled for podiums on his return from a hand injury last time at Le Mans, suffered a fall on his way to eighth place on the Friday timesheets and was only 0.255s from the top.

But he feels Mugello is one of his worst tracks on the calendar and, that unlike the stop-go nature of Le Mans, the long corners that characterise the Tuscan circuit also highlight the weaknesses of his RCV.

“A difficult day, especially not with the bike, but also myself,” said Marquez

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“When I start in FP1, normally I feel very good but not here. I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike and the track but step-by-step I was able to ride in another way.

“I was better. But it's true that today I was not riding in the best way. I have 2-3 tracks in the calendar where I am struggling a lot and this is one of them. We will try tomorrow to do another step."

However, “My target here is not the win, not the podium but that gap between top five and top ten. We need to be honest and we cannot expect a lot more.

“Then we will arrive at other circuits like Le Mans, like Sachsenring, where we can expect more. But this is one of the circuits where I struggle.”

By contrast, Marquez believes Mugello is one of Rins’ best tracks and he wasn’t surprised to see the COTA winner at the sharp end.

“No [I’m not surprised], because Rins, even with Suzuki, had 5-6 circuits where he is very fast and then others where he struggles more. Normally here with Suzuki, he was very fast and very consistent,” said Marquez, whose only premier-class win at Mugello was back in 2014.

“He is really good in fast corners so, for example, in Le Mans he was struggling more than me and here he is very fast. It is good for Honda and Honda riders that someone is faster because like this you have more chance to look and compare the things.”

Turning to the new Kalex chassis, Marquez revealed he had felt some disadvantages in the faster corners at Le Mans, which are perhaps magnified at Mugello.

“When I tried this new chassis in Le Mans, I felt some weak points in some specific corners and here we have a lot of those types of corners. So, yeah, now we need to understand why I was struggling a lot and especially why Mir [23rd] was struggling more.

“I don’t know if it will be tomorrow or in the future but it will not be a bad idea to try back-to-back with other chassis.

“Sometimes we try a strategy and a plan and it all goes in a good way but today all that we tried was not going in a good way.

“In my opinion, we tried too many things in one day, so, yeah – I also agreed to try these things – but it was a mistake and tomorrow we try to step back and restart our weekend.”

Marquez: 'Sorry to Maverick but towing is part of racing'

Marquez looked in danger of failing to make the top ten for direct Qualifying 2 when he fell in the closing stages of the afternoon.

“When I crashed it was totally my fault because I tried to cut the kerb with too much banking,” he said.

After returning to the track, Marquez then grabbed a tow behind Maverick Vinales, the rider he had infuriated with similar tactics at the 2021 event, and briefly went fastest.

“I was not even paying attention [to the tow],” insisted Vinales, now at Aprilia, to “But it’s true that Marc and Alex are sometimes licking the tyres! So I wish also Race Direction can do something because we are not showing [a good example] for Moto3.”

Marquez responded: “You must use your strong points and one of my strong points is if I follow somebody, I’m able to adapt. Some riders cannot use that slipstream because they don’t know how to ride behind another rider.

“It’s one of my strong points so I must use it. Sorry to Mack, but this is racing.”

Team-mate Mir has withdrawn from the remainder of the event due to finger damage in an afternoon fall.

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