Marc Marquez says he doesn’t mind who will be his Repsol Honda teammate in MotoGP next season after speculation linked Johann Zarco to the team for 2019 but is keen to see Honda pick the fastest rider available to help him at the team.

After Marquez recently signed a new two-year factory Honda deal to keep him at the squad until at least the end of 2020, rumours have circulated about the identity of the six-time world champion’s future teammate with Dani Pedrosa’s current contract set to expire at the end of this season.

Reports have linked Tech3 Yamaha’s Zarco to a potential move, which the French rider didn’t rule out in Qatar, with Marquez explaining the decision rests solely with Honda but did state he wants “the fastest teammate” to help develop the team’s MotoGP bike in the future.

“It is the decision of Honda and only the decision of HRC,” Marquez said in Qatar. “I want the fastest teammate that they think is available. I think it is good to have a very, very competitive rider with a high level in the same garage because it helps the development and to improve the bike and for the team atmosphere.

“Dani [Pedrosa] is very fast and this season he will be very fast but Johann is impressive so I don’t know. For me it will be okay as I’ve already signed, so I am happy.”

Zarco stormed to a new pole position lap record at the Losail International Circuit ahead of the 2018 MotoGP season opener – beating Marquez into second place by just over two-tenths of a second – which the reigning world champion says his Tech3 Yamaha rival was deserving of.

Marquez was also pleased to see Andrea Dovizioso miss out on the front row, with the factory Ducati rider lining up from fifth on the grid, as he fears the Italian rider has the fastest race pace in Qatar.

"I think the fastest guy is not here [on the front row], it is Andrea [Dovizioso]," Marquez said. "He has a very good pace and he is the favourite one for the race.

“I am happy with qualifying, we needed to be on the front two rows,” he said. “Zarco deserves this pole position as he pushed on from the front. He was faster than everybody but I was able to do a great lap and my pace is not too bad and for tomorrow’s race it is the most important thing.

“The fastest guy is not here [on the front row], that is Andrea [Dovizioso] who has a very good pace and the favourite for the race.”

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