Marc Marquez: “I chose the best, Dani Pedrosa”

Marc Marquez secures direct access to Qualifying 2 at Misano after hitching a tow behind former team-mate Dani Pedrosa during Friday practice for the San Marino MotoGP.
Marc Marquez, Dani
Marc Marquez, Dani

Pedrosa, who retired as Marquez’s Repsol Honda team-mate at the end of 2018, was again on flying form from the start of his second wild-card appearance of the season for KTM.

Meanwhile, Marquez began the day in 21st place and knew he needed a tow to break into this afternoon’s top ten.

“In FP2 at Montmelo [last week] I didn't look for anybody [to follow] because the chance to be in Qualifying 2 on Friday was super low. So I said, ‘OK, I will not try’,” Marquez explained.

“But today I saw that there was a chance, but it's true that the only way to do it is behind somebody, to try to improve the acceleration. And yeah, I chose the best one, that is Dani. I mean he is riding a MotoGP bike in the best way possible.

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“It was not my target [to follow him] on the first tyre but I did a mistake, I went wide on turn one and then he was coming. And when I followed him I said ‘OK, he's the guy to choose for the second [new] tyre’. He was riding in a very good way.”

Pedrosa finished the session in third and Marquez sixth.

Marc Marquez: 'Japan is reacting'

Although a Honda rider throughout his grand prix career, winning 54 races, HRC seemed lukewarm at the prospect of offering Pedrosa a testing contract and he was snapped up by KTM. Was it a mistake by HRC?

“Dani of course is the best rider possible to ride the bike and to give the comments. But for me, the most important thing for a test rider is the engineers,” Marquez said.

“As you see, Aprilia and Ducati have a ‘normal’ test rider, not ‘Dani Pedrosa’, and they are improving a lot. So in the end the most important thing is the engineers and the development side.

“And as we see here, Bradl is testing new things and there are many new faces in the garage, new engineers. So yeah, Japan is reacting and this is good.”

Marquez, who has dominated the headlines this weekend after failing to deny sensational rumours he could ditch Honda to ride a Gresini Ducati alongside brother Alex next season, started practice with two different RCV set-ups.

“It’s strange what’s going on because in Austria I chose my set-up, in Montmelo Bradl’s set-up, here again I chose my set-up. The other Hondas in the morning chose Bradl’s set-up but then in the afternoon went towards my setup and then it looks like they improved a bit," he explained.

“Nakagami I think is going more on Bradl’s set-up and Mir a little more my set-up… it's not a small set-up [difference], it’s a big one.

“But then the time attack for example I did with another setup - not Brad’s and not mine. And I was fast.

"But always the same [rear grip] problems are there. So this means that the problems are not coming from the set-up, they are coming from another part.”

Marquez will try a 2024 prototype, developed by Bradl in testing, on Monday at Misano.

The other Hondas of Takaaki Nakagami, Joan Mir and stand-in Takumi Takahashi were left 20th, 21st and 24th and last on Friday.

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