Marquez expected to face “nightmare” Q1 at Barcelona MotoGP

The Gresini Ducati rider was expected to fight for a first MotoGP win on the Desmosedici coming to Barcelona after back-to-back grand prix podiums at Jerez and Le Mans.

But he downplayed this ahead of the weekend as Barcelona has typically been a weaker track for the six-time MotoGP world champion, who has only won twice in the premier class at the circuit.

On Friday, having finished second in FP1, Marquez struggled to 12th in the afternoon session – missing the top 10 by just under a tenth of a second — and must go through Q1 again having done so last time out in France.

Commenting on what went wrong, Marquez said: “What happened is what we expected.

“Of course we tried to avoid, but we expected that we would struggle here in Barcelona.

“We struggled less than what we expected, because on the race pace and with the medium tyre I feel ok.

“But it’s true that on that time attack, we lose just for one tenth that Q2. But tomorrow will be the worst practice, nightmare practice [Q1] of the weekend.”

Marquez noted that he is struggling under braking on the GP23 in Barcelona, which has been a common complaint all year for those on that model of Ducati.

He also believes both his riding style and the bike must be looked at overnight to find an improvement.

“I mean, of course my style is ‘special’, which is working in most of the tracks,” he added.

“But there are three, four tracks on the calendar that it works less.

“So, the good thing is that it’s only three, four tracks. But we need to understand well tomorrow.

“This morning I go out and I felt super good. But this afternoon for some reason, in the third run I felt not so good. But this morning the riding style was working well. So, we need to work on both aspects.”

Marquez failed to get out of Q1 at Le Mans but was able to rise from 13th on the grid to finish second in both races at the French GP.

Asked if his situation on Friday at Barcelona was better or worse than at Le Mans, he said the fact his team knew what went wrong in France – which was a set-up change that didn’t work – is a key difference compared to now.

He also put doubts on a similar climb through the field to the one he demonstrated at Le Mans for Saturday’s sprint, with Marquez only convinced he has pace good enough to finish between fifth and seventh.

“Depends on qualifying practice, but if we can have a good qualifying practice and start on that third row, for example, our potential is to be in fifth, sixth, seventh at the moment,” he added.

“Not better, but it’s a good result here in Montmelo because it looks like KTM and Aprilia here are working better.

“But it’s a different race track and you need to find a balance for the whole calendar. So, yeah, here we are struggling more than on the other tracks but we are not far.”

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