Marc Marquez described his feelings on a “strange” Friday of MotoGP free practice at Phillip Island when he encountered a variety of issues with bike stability on the way to the seventh fastest time.

The recently crowned 2018 world champion suffered a fast front end spill at the MG hairpin in FP1, as well as a number of scary front end moments. That his crash came “without pushing” was of some concern.

“We are looking at our bike and our performance but of course today was such a strange Friday and after being World Champion.

“It was strange: the feeling with the bike - and the other Hondas – to understand the feeling with the front tyre. I don't know if it was the first or the second time this season that I crash without pushing.

Most successful riders in MotoGP history!

“I was just riding in FP1 in an easier way. I was also trying a different set-up but in the afternoon I came back to the set-up I know and it was much better. We kept improving the feeling and tomorrow we will try to continue that way.

“It is something we want to know, we want to understand why. It is true that our bike in fast corners is unstable and is our weak point. Normally here in Phillip Island we are able to be fast and we were today but with a lot of risk.

“I had two strange moments. I was not looking for the limit but I almost crashed and did in FP1. Now it is time to understand and still we have a margin and we can come back to the set-up we know.

“[For the crash] maybe I changed [to a medium front compound] too early. I crashed in a straight line and this means a cold tyre. Maybe it was too early to use the Medium tyre but at this circuit many riders crash without knowing why and today there were many.

“It can be the cold conditions or the wind but it’s important we understand and this afternoon I was happy because I came back with feeling.”

Is he concerned by the possible cooler temperatures during Sunday’s race? ”Hmm, we will see,” he said. “We need to understand what will be the best tyre for us: we need to go with the Medium or Hard. The Soft is not working.

“But Michelin brought the perfect allocation for here. You have all the options if you want. Today we did the race distance with the Soft but tomorrow we’ll try the Medium and Hard and will keep working.

“We’ll keep the same style as the whole season, forget Friday and don't think about position, just think about Sunday.”

Marquez was some way behind Cal Crutchlow when the Englishman suffered an ugly fall at turn one in FP2 that resulted in a fractured ankle.

“I was far away but I saw someone having a big crash at turn one,” he said. “When I arrived in the box I saw that it was Cal I slowed down there. Dani crashed there this morning too. It’s one of our weak points.

“When we arrive there…I don't understand the front. We did a change this afternoon and I start to understand in a better way. You need to be patient. This is a very special circuit and sometimes the base set-up is not working.

“Our target is to be faster, faster, faster and on Sunday be on the podium…but it is true that it seems our base set-up for the whole season is not working here in the right way.”