Marc Marquez ‘needs to learn from Bagnaia’

Marc Marquez: ‘Bagnaia finished three seconds ahead and he’s the reigning champion. It’s from him we need to learn.’

Francesco Bagnaia, Marc Marquez, Aleix Espargaro, Tissot Sprint Race, Qatar MotoGP, 9 March
Francesco Bagnaia, Marc Marquez, Aleix Espargaro, Tissot Sprint Race,…

While insisting he was more than satisfied with fourth on his Gresini Ducati MotoGP debut in Qatar, Marc Marquez also knew exactly which rider’s data he needed to learn from ahead of this weekend’s second round in Portimao.

The Spaniard crossed the Lusail line as the top GP23 rider, 3.429s behind factory Ducati’s reigning champion and race winner Francesco Bagnaia and 1.496s from Jorge Martin and the final place on the podium.

“I had a go at the podium. I almost bridged the gap to Martin. But [anyway] it’s good this way,” Marquez said. “If at the Valencia test they’d told me I would have finished fourth today, I would have signed for it.

“This has never been one of my favourite circuits so fourth is a good result.

“We will analyse the data now: Bagnaia finished three seconds ahead of us and he’s the reigning champion. It’s from him we need to learn to further raise the bar.”

KTM's Brad Binder was the other rider on the Sunday Qatar podium, in second.

The next best GP23 rider was Marc's younger brother and team-mate Alex, who finished in sixth, 3.362s adrift of the #93.

‘They are riding better than me’

While Marquez has only a year-old bike, Bagnaia and Martin are riding the latest factory-spec GP24. But the eight-time world champion insists that’s not the reason they beat him in Qatar.

“No. They are faster. One is the world champion, and the other one was second. And they were much faster than the others last year in the second part of the season,” Marquez said.

“So I don't think it's only the GP24. I have my bike, I have my tools, and when I signed my contract, I already knew what I would have. So the bike is working well and they are riding better than me.

“But I keep going with my style, I want to be patient this year, I want to enjoy it again, I want to fight for the top 5 positions, and it's what I did [in Qatar].

“Every day I improve my riding style, every day I change a few things that help a little bit, so still I believe that I haven’t arrived at the limit of the bike.”

Marquez took pole position and a Sprint podium as a Repsol Honda rider at Portimao last season, only to collide with Miguel Oliveira early in the grand prix, injuring them both.

Free practice for the 2024 event starts on Friday morning.

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