Another MotoGP qualifying session, another tow hunt by Marc Marquez, who this time set off in pursuit of Jack Miller during both of his Qualifying 1 runs in Catalunya.

But unlike in Mugello a week ago - where Maverick Vinales had been left fuming by Marquez's refusal to leave his rear wheel, despite a short-cut into pit lane - Miller seemed to see the funny side, gesturing for the Honda rider to pay him for the tow as they left pit lane.

Marquez later revealed the pair, who shook hands after Qualifying 1, had joked about just such a scenario on Friday.

"Yesterday we were joking in the Clinica Mobile with Miller, because I was in 15th place and he said to me, 'how much will you pay me?' And today was the time!" Marquez said.

"In Qualifying 1, many riders – me, Pol – were waiting for somebody and this somebody was the fastest guy; Miller.

"Just we went behind him and of course he said to me 'how much?' and I said 'later, later we will speak about it!'

"I'm happy for him because he finished second on the grid in the end."

But while Miller made it safely through Qualifying 1 with the fastest time, it was Marquez who lost out due to a following rider, his own team-mate Pol Espargaro demoting him from second to third.

Marquez was therefore pushed out of Qualifying 2 and will start Sunday's race from 13th on the grid.

"I'm not very disappointed to not pass to Qualifying 2, because in the end it doesn't change a lot to start 13th or 11th," he said. "Like in Mugello, I passed through to Qualifying 2 but I started 11th. So in the end it's the same."

Indeed, the biggest obstacle Marquez faces is not his grid position but the physical condition of his slow-healing arm and shoulder, followed by the need to improve the podium-less 2021 RC213V.

All of which makes his persistence in seeking a tow at each race weekend seem rather unnecessary…

Meanwhile, in the unlikely event that no Honda rider stands on the rostrum this season, the factory would qualify for MotoGP's package of technical concessions in 2022.

But that's not something Marquez thinks will happen.

"We are in a difficult moment and everything we can have for the future, some advantage, will be nice to us. But I don’t think we will get the Concessions, honestly speaking. I believe we will get a podium before we finish the year."

Nonetheless, team-mate Espargaro said having Concessions would be very useful for Honda at the moment, especially given the lack of testing.

Aprilia is the last remaining MotoGP manufacturer still with access to Concessions, which includes the chance to continue engine development during a season and conduct private testing with race riders.

Honda is currently enduring its longest premier-class losing streak since 1982, being without a win since Marquez's victory at Valencia in 2019.

The factory's best result so far this year is a fourth place by LCR's Takaaki Nakagami, with Marquez no higher than seventh since his comeback due to recent DNFs at Le Mans and Mugello.

 

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