Marc Marquez 13th: “Never felt comfortable, lot of work to do”

Just 13th on Friday means Marc Marquez will make his first Qualifying 1 appearance as a Ducati rider, at Le Mans.

Marc Marquez, crash, Le Mans 2024
Marc Marquez, crash, Le Mans 2024

Marc Marquez looked set to pick up where he left off after his Jerez victory challenge when he led the opening MotoGP practice at Le Mans until beyond the halfway stage.

Although Marquez later slipped to ninth, he remained on used tyres and promptly returned to the top in the opening minutes of the crucial afternoon hour.

But the eight-time world champion fell soon after, at Turn 12, a mistake he called his first Ducati accident from overriding and was rapidly shuffled outside of the top ten.

“It's the first Friday that we struggle. Today I was fighting against the bike. I was not smooth enough. I was not clean on the lines and on that crash I leaned too much,” he said.

There was still plenty of time to respond, but Marquez admitted he “never felt comfortable in the afternoon set-up wise” and a combination of riding errors and yellow flags left the Spaniard 13th at the chequered flag.

The result sends Marquez into Q1 for the first time as a Ducati rider and left crew chief Frankie Carchedi with his head in his hands. Marquez was also, surprisingly, classified last on the top speed charts, almost 7km/h slower than Francesco Bagnaia's GP24.

“I never felt comfortable in the afternoon set-up wise, and we need to react quickly,” Marquez said. “Now I’m fully focused on Q1, which is the worst session of the weekend.

“Unfortunately, I got a yellow flag during my first quick lap and then made a mistake on my last lap. We went in the wrong direction with the set-up so there’s a lot of work to do to be competitive tomorrow.”

Marquez confirmed he will analyse the data of the seven other Ducatis, five of them inside the top ten, to try and rebound on Saturday.

Younger brother and team-mate Alex Marquez also had a day to forget with 19th place.

“I managed to only do one time attack. We tried some adjustments that we working well this morning, but not as much in the afternoon,” he said.

“We need to make a step back, I had an idea set-up wise that I thought could have helped, but it turned out not to be.

“There’s margin to do well, but we need a bike that is not as nervous. Q1 is a complicated session and it’ll be even more challenging tomorrow with so many fast riders.”

Factory KTM’s Brad Binder and 2022 Le Mans winner Enea Bastianini are among the riders the Marquez brothers will battle for the last two transfer places in Qualifying 1.

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