MotoGP World Championship leader and pole sitter Marc Marquez admitted that he has felt good from the early laps of FP1, as the Spaniard converted his free practice pace into his ninth pole position of 2019.
The World Champion looked in control from FP1 when he went out and smashed the field by over a second and a half. Despite a small crash in FP2 and sitting out the damp FP3, Marquez was still expected to deliver a pole position and he did so by over three tenths of a second.
Marquez said that he felt good from the first lap, even if he didn’t get the performance from his second tyre in qualifying.
“From FP1 the first laps I felt really good here,” said the 26-year-old.
“I find good line and feeling in a good way, so this was very important to start like this. Yesterday I had the small crash, but today in FP4 I was so consistent, the rhythm was there. In quali it’s true, maybe I was expecting more, but I couldn’t find the best way with the last tyre.
“Apart from that, the most important will arrive tomorrow, when we will have an important race, where we need to be fast and concentrating and prepare about everything and see if we can continue with the same performance.”
Such has Marquez’ domination all weekend, there has been a lot of talk of Austin, a circuit in which he was seemingly untouchable before an unforced error saw him crash out of the lead. He admitted that he has had it in his mind this weekend, but he has to keep working without thinking about that.
“To be so strong during the weekend has positive things, but also negative things,” he said.
“One of these negative things is the pressure, we’re in the home circuit and everybody expects victory tomorrow and it will not be easy, it will be difficult.
“I’m pushing and these two guys (Quartararo and Vinales) are riding in a very good way too. We need to manage this pressure.
“Austin is in my head, in Austin I did a mistake, so I just need to keep focus and keep working like we did until now and chose the best tyre compound for the race distance and enjoy it here in Aragon.”
2019 has seen Marquez approach races in different ways. In Austria and Silverstone he led the majority of laps before losing out on the final lap. In Misano, he sat behind Quartararo before pipping the Frenchman on the final lap. When asked if it was easier to lead or follow, Marquez said: “This depends on the circuit and how you are and everything.
“In Misano Fabio and the Yamaha riders have a better pace than me, so it looks like they can keep a good lap time in an easier way, here it looks the opposite. In Misano it was easier to follow as Fabio had the pace. Here it’s time to push in front, because if I don’t push in front, will be a big group in the front.
“This doesn’t mean I will go out and push from the first lap, I need to understand the track conditions, weather and how is the feeling from the bike, then go step-by-step, it’s not necessary to open a big gap from the beginning, so let’s see if we can.”
Cal Crutchlow has regularly spoken about the physicality of the Honda and the issues which come from having to ride such a physical bike. Marquez admitted that he also has had some issues with the physical nature of the 2019 RC213V but said that the extra speed provided by this year’s bike has more positive than negatives.
“You have to be fit. If you are not fit, it’s impossible to be fast with this bike,” he said.
“But we are racing, we are athletes, you need to be fit. But honestly speaking I was struggling even more, as I had less engine. But this year with more engine we miss in some corners or areas. But the compromise over all the circuit is better.
“It’s difficult but you need to set up well, believe in your project and that’s what I believe is that I am on the best bike for my riding style and the best team. It’s true that it’s not the easiest bike of the grid, but when you find the point it can be the most competitive.”