Marc Marquez: I still can't use the rear brake like Pol

Marc Marquez yet to exploit the strengths of the new Honda to the same degree as Qatar MotoGP podium finisher Pol Espargaro; 'He is using the rear brake a lot, I still can't use this amount of rear brake.'
Marc Marquez , Qatar MotoGP, 6 March 2022
Marc Marquez , Qatar MotoGP, 6 March 2022
© Gold and Goose Photography

It's not often that another Honda rider gets the better of six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez.

But after leading the field into turn one, Marquez was promptly passed by team-mate Pol Espargaro. Marquez tried to re-pass the #44 under braking at the start of lap 2 but ran wide, the first of several such moments, and was never able to threaten Espargaro again.

While Espargaro continued to lead until lap 17 of 22, before a fading soft front tyre saw him fall victim to Enea Bastianini and Brad Binder, Marquez was shuffled back to fifth.

"All weekend Pol was riding a bit better than me," said Marquez. "The way that he got the lap times was a little bit easier. Looks like he is able to stop a lot the bike on the entry and he is using the rear brake a lot, I still can't use this amount of rear brake, because if I do, I lose the rear.

"But anyway, since he got this [new] bike, he rides really good. In Malaysia, in Mandalika, here. And it's good to have a good reference inside the box. We are in the first race, we need to understand now what he did better this weekend, but he was riding in a very good way today."

While the technical side of the radically-revised RC213V is still to be fully understood, Marquez's physical condition wasn't a factor.

"The race distance was one of my question marks. I didn't have any problems about physical condition, of course I feel tired like everybody, but I didn't feel pain, so this was already really important," he said.

"Just today, there were four riders faster than us. I was optimistic before the race, that I was thinking maybe the race will be a bit slow, but it was a really fast race. The pace was incredible, and I didn't have the speed."

Having exploited braking and corner entry performance on previous Hondas, the shift to rear grip for 2022 means Marquez now has to adapt to a 'lighter' front end.

"I was struggling especially with the front confidence, with the front tyre. But it was something we already knew before the race," Marquez said.

"For that reason, in the warm up, I tried the medium front, but I had a small crash, and then I preferred to go with a tyre that I know, that was the soft front, because like this I had the warnings.

"I pushed, I tried my 100%, but then when I saw that it was not possible, and I had a few moments, I gave up, I finished fifth, four seconds behind the first guy. A solid race, not the best, but a good race. "

Sunday was Marquez's first Qatar MotoGP race since 2019. The 2020 round was cancelled due to Covid restrictions, while the Spaniard missed the 2021 races due to complications with his right arm injury.

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