Jack Miller has said it was “amazing to watch” Marc Marquez as the reigning world champion repeatedly sought out the limits of adhesion on the second day of testing in Qatar, the Catalan eventually "saving one of his biggest ones yet."

Marquez simply smiled that knowing grin when recalling those handful of laps when he circulated the Losail track just ahead of Miller with a feeling on the front of his machine that wasn’t to his liking.

“I was struggling a lot with the front tyre,” he conceded, while revealing one of those moments to which Miller referred came while leant over at 66 degrees – two more than the infamous save he caught on his left knee at Valencia last November.

“It's true, I was struggling,” said Marquez after ending Friday with the third fastest time. “Then I put the hard [front in] and it was slightly better, but even like this I was struggling and we need to find the setup.

“But yes, when he was behind me, I checked on the data, I was at 66 degrees of lean angle, so even more than Valencia, but I was able to recover that crash. Of course, when you have that problem, it's not the good way, but in the end, that's my riding style.”

Marquez admitted he and his team has “gone in the wrong way” in terms of set-up direction on Friday evening at a track where he has struggled in recent years. However, after eventually crashing out at turn two, a return to his second bike shed some light on a means of working for Saturday.

“Of course this track is quite difficult for us, for Honda, for my riding style,” Marquez said. “Maybe it's one of the worst tracks on the calendar. But anyway, we are trying to work, and we are trying to push on the limit.

“We will see, and still we need to change the bike balance a little bit. It was good, because after the crash, I tried the second bike which was completely different, and there we found something, we improved in some areas, that maybe will be better to be consistent and to be faster.”

Miller, who rode a similar Honda RC213V to Marquez for two years, was left incredulous by the reigning world champion’s feats in the evening, and joking that his own issues with the front of his Ducati GP17 were tame by comparison.

“Following Marc, I watched him lose the front I think six times in the space of two laps,” said Miller on Friday night. “I let him past at turn six, and I think it happened to be one of his biggest ones yet, it went for so long, all the way to the white line on the outside.

“I thought 'he's down, he's down, he's down, he's down' and then he stood it up and kept going again! But I followed him the lap before through the fast three corners, and he lost the front each time.

“It was amazing to watch from behind, there was smoke and stuff coming off him! It looked like he was really struggling... I was having these moments, but I wasn't pushing too much, and he was pushing into it.

“I mean, even his crash at turn two wasn't like your normal crash at turn two, it was quite late into the corner. So it looks as though a lot of people are having a problem with the front end, so we can't be too panicked or too paranoid about it.

“I think we can't go turning our bike inside out too much for here, especially because the conditions have been a bit rubbish the past two days.”

“It [watching Marquez] made me feel like I'm complaining a bit too much, maybe, because I'm complaining about mine going a little bit, but watching his go it looked like he had a bit of a handful, you know.

“He was pushing, don't get me wrong, but especially in the fast three corners, he lost the front at the first one, ran a bit wide, and so he went even hotter into the second one. It just seemed like he was a sucker for punishment a bit. He just kept going at it!”

 

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