Marc Marquez credited Honda's more powerful 2019 engine for enabling him to finish a fraction from Andrea Dovizioso in Sunday's season-opening Qatar MotoGP.

In a repeat of one year ago, Marquez made an unsuccessful attempted to pass Dovizioso at the final corner, losing out on victory by just 0.023s compared with 0.027s the year before.

That may not look like much progress, but there was a significant step in the top speed charts, with Marquez the quickest rider of the weekend at 352.0km/h compared to seventh at 347.2km/h a year ago.

The Spaniard also explained that the Honda engine gains - partly down to a revised air intake system - was masked by the tyre allocation for this year's event, which didn't favour the RCV.

"The engine gave me the second position. Because, believe me, last year I had a better pace, and last year I felt better on the chassis side but only because the front tyre allocation was different. And I was able to use the hard tyre," Marquez said.

"This is something that I don’t complain about because in some races [the tyre allocation] will be better for us and in some races it will be better for another manufacturer.

"But like we saw, in the first day here the hard-front tyre worked very good because the temperature was higher. But yesterday and today was very cold and I was not able to use the hard front tyre.

"For that reason I used the 'k' and last time I used the 'k' tyre here, the medium one, I finished fifth. So the engine gave me that extra to finish in second place.

"I know that I did my 100 percent this weekend and I was very close. I understand many things from Ducati and we have a good package, so better circuits and better conditions will arrive for us."

Commenting on the action replay at the final turn, Marquez admitted there was even less chance of making the pass stick than a year ago, but felt he had to try.

"It was a replay from last year, but last year I felt more chance," he said. "This year I tried because I need to try! But I already knew.

"He was braking late and with the medium tyre I was not able to stop the bike like I like. So I tried to see what's going on, to prepare also the exit to see with the new engine. We finished four thousandths closer to him than last year but still not enough!

"Anyway we tried. So I'm happy."

 

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