Marc Marquez says a clearer picture will develop on Saturday over his rivals’ race pace after a challenging opening day at the Thailand MotoGP.

The Chang International Circuit in Buriram is hosting a premier class round for the first time and although the MotoGP riders tested at the venue in February, Marquez said he was starting afresh after a different rear tyre and set-up was used at the test.

The Repsol Honda rider was fourth fastest, but only 0.098s behind Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.

Marquez said: “Today the condition of the track was quite good, the morning was a little bit more difficult but the afternoon was much better. It’s true that for some reason we are riding slower than in the test and I believe that is related more to the rear tyre.

“In the test we had another rear tyre, but now it works in a different way and we are starting to adapt our set-up to the rear tyre. It was difficult, but at the moment we are working in a good way and the track is good. When I was riding I feel quite good,” he added.

“The test we did in the winter time was another one and the changes we did during the season were in one way. Maybe I am not strong like at the test in one lap, but I am stronger on the race pace, so we started with the season base.”

Maverick Vinales was second fastest on the Movistar Yamaha and while Marquez admits the Spaniard had an impressive first day, the reigning world champion says a clearer picture of his rivals’ pace will emerge on Saturday.

“Sometimes (Yamaha) are very fast and sometimes they have to work very hard and are struggling sometimes, so it’s difficult to understand for them but Maverick was fast, he was riding good, but tomorrow we will see better what is the pace of everybody,” said Marquez.

“Dovi is fast, but he is always working a lot to try and understand, and he pushes only on key moments. But Vinales is quite good and then also Dani (Pedrosa), and then of course Dovi will be there. Tomorrow we will see where we are.

“For the moment everybody is working with the tyre allocation and trying to work on the set-up, so tomorrow will be easier after FP4 to see where everybody is. Today I feel okay, I feel not so bad and I was trying also to be constant, but it is hard.”



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