Despite securing a record-breaking pole position at Motegi, Marc Marquez is already expecting a difficult Japanese MotoGP after struggling with his Repsol Honda.

The newly-crowned 2019 MotoGP world champion dominated qualifying to take his 10th pole position of the season, and 90th in his career, while it also marked his first Motegi qualifying top spot in the premier class meaning he has taken at least one pole at every round on the current MotoGP calendar.

But having been fractionally off the pace during practice across all conditions at Honda’s home round, Marquez doesn’t anticipate to have the same level of control against his rivals in tomorrow’s race.

“I am happy with my first pole position here in Motegi, and 90th in total, so I am very happy about that, but we need to be honest,” Marquez said. “Tomorrow will be a tough race and we are not in the best position or best condition. Anyway we ready to fight for the victory so we will try everything to do it.

“I am struggling in a few places but in the qualifying practice we improved. I struggled to stop the bike in the last part of the brakes but it looks like in qualifying it is true that it is different and difficult to understand. We tried a few things and we improved compared to yesterday.

Marquez also feels in the current colder conditions around Motegi’s layout he is struggling to extract the full power from his RC213V’s engine which is restraining his “extra advantage”, especially against the Yamaha riders with lower engine output.

“One of things here is that you cannot use all of the torque from the engine, you don’t have this extra advantage so you need to find a way to ride in a different way to improve the lap time,” he explained.

“Honestly speaking we are not in the best situation at the moment at least. But in the warm-up we will try to work to change a few things. Already in qualifying I felt good so this will be the main target, to finish on the podium and then if I feel okay I will try to fight for the victory.”

The 26-year-old also expects tyre choice to be critical for the race in order to find a balanced setup between pace and consistency over the full 24-lap race and remains wary having seen tyre performance alter dramatically in changing conditions this weekend.

“It is crucial but more crucial to understand the temperatures and the humidity and all these things,” he said.

“In FP1 one tyre was working very good and in FP2 it was another tyre so that is where we need to manage in a good way to understand which compound is the best one for conditions. It will be tricky for everybody but it will be nice to see what the tyre choice is of each other.”

Marquez is aiming to wrap up another Triple Crown for Honda this season, with the Japanese manufacturer able to seal the second leg in the constructors’ world championship this weekend.

Honda currently holds a 77-point advantage over Ducati meaning it will secure the 2019 MotoGP constructors’ crown with three races to spare if it doesn’t concede more than two points to the Italian manufacturer at the Japanese GP.

Marquez is in prime position to achieve that target starting from pole position with the highest-placed Ducati rider being Jack Miller who will start from sixth on the grid.

 

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