Marc Marquez concedes he was surprised to see new Repsol Honda team-mate Jorge Lorenzo immediately at the sharp-end of the times in the opening practice session in Qatar.
The reigning MotoGP world champion was shuffled into third place at the end of FP1 with Lorenzo in second, narrowly behind timesheet-topper Valentino Rossi, despite his new team-mate completing just his fourth day of track action in 2019 for Repsol Honda having missed the Sepang test through injury.
While Lorenzo’s outright pace appeared to fade compared to Marquez in FP2, when he produced a new lap record at the Losail International Circuit of 1m 53.380s to top second practice leaving Lorenzo over one second off in 11th place, he was still surprised to see how quickly his new team-mate has adapted having joined from Ducati over the winter.
“Jorge, he has started really good and he started in FP1 already with us so he already feels the bike,” Marquez replied when asked who surprised him after Friday practice in Qatar. “When you start in FP1 already there [at the top] that means that you feel the bike.
“That means that you are working in a good way so it means he will be very, very fast. The others, honestly speaking I didn’t check the papers so it is difficult.”
Marquez has been eager to analyse Lorenzo’s Repsol Honda data since his arrival at the team to see where he can uncover improvements in his own riding with the RC213V, but says any major setup changes taken from his team-mate would be counterproductive due to their “day and night” riding styles.
Marquez has been heralded for his aggressive and front-end pushing style while Lorenzo is considered one of the smoothest riders on the MotoGP grid.
“We are day and night, on the way to ride the bike. I ride one way and he rides the opposite, completely opposite, and it is time to understand this,” he said. “I am very aggressive and he is very smooth so of course he will be very fast in some corners and I will be very fast in other corners.
“Now it is time to understand. He will check my data, I will check his data.
“If you have the setup of Jorge then you cannot be aggressive like I am. If I have the setup I am the opposite. But it is interesting because also Cal [Crutchlow] has a different riding style, [Takaaki] Nakagami is another one, so it is time to understand. It will be interesting for all of us.”