Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez emerged unscathed from two falls and went on to secure a front row start for the season-opening Qatar night race, at perhaps Honda's worst circuit.

The Repsol Honda star fell just moments after team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in FP3, but while Lorenzo was thrown into a painful highside Marquez was blown off track bya gust of wind and lost the front.

"It was only the second lap and maybe I pushed too much," he said. "I knew I was on the kerb, but then the wind pushed me and I didn’t realis I was out of the track. Then when I came back I lost the front. So completely my mistake, but I know for tomorrow in the race."

The second spill occurred at Turn 6, again a lowside, as temperatures dropped in FP4. Marquez admitted that his healing shoulder meant he didn't try and save it.

"On my left-side I have less power at the moment to save the crashes, and for that reason at Turn 6 when I lost the front I didn't try," he said.

Because of those spills, Marquez opted for a change of strategy in qualifying, which saw him seek a tow behind Ducati's Danilo Petrucci and vault to third on his final lap.

"Maybe [I could have done it alone], but with more risk," he said. "So my target was try to have less risk. I'd already crashed two times today and in qualifying you need to push and I didn't feel ready to push. So I just tried to change the strategy.

"But you know MotoGP is like that and we cannot forget that Danilo went out in front of me in the pitlane. So nothing more to say."

All of which meant it was a case of mission accomplished:

"I'm very happy to be here on the front row because I don't know if it's the worst circuit on the calendar, but it's one of the most difficult for us and we are very close to the top guys.

"I don’t know [why it's difficult for us] because I've only rode the Honda. But like Dovi said, this is a very special track. For example with this new bike I felt really strong in Jerez and Malaysia, but since we arrived here I felt like we were struggling like every year.

"Maybe you can ask my team-mate that is coming from another bike [why the Honda struggles in Qatar]. We saw today also, Jorge is a guy that doesn’t crash a lot and already two crashes.

"It's something difficult to understand and something that we are trying to understand. But it's only one track on the calendar. So in the other tracks it should be better."

Turning to Sunday's race, where he lost out to Dovizioso by just 0.027s one year ago, Marquez said:

"These two guys [Vinales and Dovizioso, first and second on the grid] are very fast but I feel good in all the track. For example yesterday I was struggling in some areas, but in FP4 we rode with a lot of laps on the tyre, we tried a few things and when I put together all that we know I'm feeling good with the bike.

"It also depends a lot on the temperature. Today it was ice. As soon as we arrived at 8pm the track so slippery and we saw some strange crashes on the left corners."

Riders had warned that moving the race from 7 to 8pm would make tracks conditions riskier, but their request to revert to a 7pm start fell on deaf ears.

"We already pushed a lot yesterday, nearly all the riders, to change the time because we are taking a risk that is not necessary," Marquez said. "I mean, we are racing at 8 and last year we raced at 7.

"Of course you never know how the weather will be, but we are taking a risk that for the safety is not necessary. But anyway if we need to race, we will race, but it would be better at 7."

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