When a MotoGP rider says they need more power, they are usually talking about the engine. But in world champion Marc Marquez's case, it's a healing shoulder that is holding him back.

In a repeat of last season, the Repsol Honda rider arrived for the opening Sepang test knowing he would 'suffer' due to a lack of strength after major shoulder surgery two months earlier.

The Spaniard gritted his teeth to deliver 37, 47 and 47 laps respectively over the three days, finishing 13th overall on the timesheets albeit just 0.4s from the best lap of Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha).

But Marquez also suffered two falls that he might normally have saved and felt he was unable to push hard enough to give conclusive feedback on some of the new Honda parts.

"I need more power," Marquez said. "I’m very happy about the evolution of my physical condition over these three days. But it’s true that for example even yesterday when I stopped at midday and tried to start again in the afternoon I was too tired. The muscles are difficult to activate.

"Today I had a crash at turn 15 and it was more because of the physical condition. When you lose this, you lose concentration. A crash that normally I would save, I lost the front a little bit and lost the bike.

"We did a [muscle] test before coming here and specifically the deltoid muscle is around 60%. But the other muscles are closer to the top," he revealed.

"It affected [me] a lot. This is one of the more difficult circuits physically and I suffered during these three days. But I need to suffer now if I want to be ready in Qatar."

Currently of greater concern to Marquez is the development of the 2020 RCV.

"I am more worried about the technical side," he confirmed. "The things we tried, it’s not clear. Some were a little bit better but we need to keep pushing.

"The answer about the technical side is all about the opponents. If they improve a lot then we need to keep working. It looks like Suzuki and Yamaha have improved a lot."

Who would be fighting for victory if the race was tomorrow and how much of it could you do?

"If you check the pace everyone is running in the '59s today. But Rins did a really good job. Viñales, too, on the race pace. Rins and Viñales are the two fastest ones.

"I don’t feel very, very far [away] in ten laps. [But] now I’m not ready to finish those 20 laps."

Despite an extensive range of new parts to test at Sepang, LCR's Cal Crutchlow said he is yet to feel progress regarding the front-end difficulties of last year's bike.

Marquez agreed: "Basically I have the same [front end] feeling like last year. It’s there where we’re trying to work. We’re trying to analyse the problem and see if it’s coming from the chassis or the engine.

"It’s there where we need to keep working, keep analysing all the things. I believe what I said last year, that in the engine side we are missing something there.

"The main comments from me, Cal and Alex are the same and in the same way like previous years, like 2019. Still we don’t improve a lot that 'pushing' in the last part [of corner entry] and the traction in the exit of the corners.

"About the engine side, we can’t change a lot [before the first race]. But the chassis side, if we can try to improve the grip on the exit of the corner is the most important."

While the #93 said it's too early to know if, as last year, his shoulder and bike will be ready to fight for victory at the Qatar season opener on March 8, his focus remains on winning what would be a seventh MotoGP title.

"My target is to try and fight for the championship. We are working for it and I feel we are ready. But we need time," he said.

"On my side we are in a difficult period because I need to be patient. But it’s difficult to be patient while at the same time working on the bike, working on the rehabilitation.

"It’s there where it’s so difficult managing all these things. We are suffering now to enjoy in a good way the race."

Younger brother and new team-mate Alex Marquez was 18th fastest (+0.693) and top rookie at Sepang.

The Qatar test, the final track time before the season begins, takes place from February 22-24.

 

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