Marc Marquez was at a loss to explain a late fall on Friday afternoon that had the potential to spoil his weekend at Motegi at this critical time of the year, and is hopeful of gaining an understanding before qualifying day.

The championship leader was using the final moments of FP2 to chase down title rival Andrea Dovizioso’s fastest time. Marquez had climbed from eighth position to third as the clock ticked down. Just under two minutes later he was second.

With the fastest time in his sights, the Catalan was flicked off his Honda RC213V on the exit of turn four in a crash he later labelled as “strange” - his 23rd of a season that could yet yield a fourth premier class title.

Ultimately Marquez was unharmed and remained second on the timesheets, a narrow 0.043s back of Dovizioso, and was pleased with his pace (he also topped FP1 in similar, wet conditions by a colossal eight tenths of a second) in the rain.

Understanding that pesky, late crash, along with working on a setting for a track that is wet, but has less standing water, is the priority for the 24-year old on Friday evening.

“Overall the day was good. I mean, I’m happy for the day. Just the crash and what happened – honestly, I went out and the feeling was good but then I put in new tyres for the last run, to make a long run but there I lost some feeling. I lost some feeling and I start to struggle a bit more with the rear grip.

“Even like this the lap time was coming well. Suddenly there, it was a strange crash because I was with the gas. Normally there with the gas you always have the traction control that keeps you in a safe way.

“That time it was so quick. Like, ‘Waaaaaah!’ It’s something that we need to work on for tomorrow – not only on that point. There are a few to be more safe. It’s better that it happens now, before the race, to try and have everything under control.”

Was the five-time world champion surprised to see Dovizioso so quick in the afternoon, after the Italian had only managed the fifth best time of the morning?

“I already expected in the afternoon it would be more and more close,” Marquez said. “I’m a rider that goes out and on the third or fourth lap I can be on the lap time. Maybe I can find the limit earlier. This is a good thing but sometimes this is a bad thing because you arrive on the limit…

“But also in the wet the conditions change. This morning there was a lot of water. I felt really good with the bike. This afternoon with less water it looks maybe better but sometimes it’s worse with less water. I need to understand it well and adjust the set-up with less water.”


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