After non-scores in the last two rounds, Marc Marquez began his first home Catalan MotoGP since 2019 with only the 15th fastest lap time in Friday practice.

But the Repsol Honda rider, forced to modify his riding style due to his healing right arm and shoulder, was within 0.8s of fastest man Johann Zarco and felt more competitive than at Mugello one week ago.

"I started today trying to not think about the arm from the first run, but immediately I felt two or three points in the circuit where I need to adapt the position, the new position," he said.

"For example, here it is Turn 3, Turn 4, and the last two turns, which is I think Turn 13 and 14. Because they are downhill corners. But at the end of the straight, that is a hard braking point, I don't have any limitations. I can brake where I want and can have my riding style.

"But if there's some movement of the bike, like here shaking on the exit of the corners, that's also where I cannot control well. But comparing Friday of Mugello and Friday of Montmelo, I feel much better. The result is more-or-less the same, but the general feeling of the body was better."

Most riders reported that the circuit was very slippery on Friday, the kind of conditions that would play into Marquez's hands in the past.

"It's true that normally when the grip was very low, we were fast. But the problem is that the other manufacturers have improved," explained the eight time world champion. "And especially in T2, for example, that there you need grip if you want to be fast. The fastest guys are Yamaha riders, but not a little bit, they are like three tenths, four tenths faster than everybody.

"So that means sometimes here torque and the power is not the most important, the most important is how to get the grip, and we are struggling. I tried the soft tyre to try to understand if it's a real option for the race, and it's an option. But still I don't know which tyre I will use."

Marquez was seen chatting with 500cc Honda legend Mick Doohan last weekend at Mugello, a rider famed for overcoming injuries to win five premier-class world titles.

The #93 wouldn't reveal what they had spoken about, but said it had been an 'interesting, important experience'.

"Yes, we had a chance to talk with Mick, and it was interesting, important. Maybe someday I will explain what we spoke about. It was a very nice talk, and we spoke together, and it's good to know his experience," Marquez said.

"It helps me, and I appreciate a lot all the advice from Mick Doohan because he's one of my heroes. And especially he passed a similar situation, so I was just like a kid in school, listening and trying to remember everything that he said."

While we don’t know what was said between Doohan and Marquez, the Australian previously told the official MotoGP website:

"Marc's been off the bike for some time, which is also difficult. It's not like basketball where you can go and shoot some hoops. This is the only place to ride a MotoGP bike. So for sure his fitness isn't there, but I don’t think the bike's there.

"I think Honda need to re-evaluate the way they are working at the moment and Honda have turned things around. They haven’t won as many championships as they have without knowing what they are doing, but I don’t think there are in that sweet spot and I look forward to seeing them back in their winning ways."

The top Honda on Friday was Marquez's team-mate Pol Espargaro in tenth place, 0.748s from Zarco's Pramac Ducati.