MotoGP World Championship leader Marc Marquez said that he was confident with his race rhythm, after Repsol Honda man broke the two-wheeled lap record around the Red Bull Ring to secure pole position.
The Spaniard continued his 2019 plan of working through the free practice sessions on used tyres in preparation for Sundays race, rather than worrying about single lap pace.
Using data gathered through the free practice sessions, Marquez predicts a tough race with Andrea Dovizioso, with two Yamaha riders also keeping him honest.
“Already in FP4 I saw that it was maybe possible to do a (one minute) 22, but in the end a (one minute) 23.0,” said the 26-year-old.
“It’s a good lap, the most important is that we feel good on the bike and the confidence is really high. During all the weekend with all the Repsol Honda team we work in the best way.
“We did the correct steps at the moment. But tomorrow is coming the most important day, and this guy to my left side (Dovizioso) is not far away. He’s consistent, especially with the used tyre and he has a good pace and we cannot forget both Yamaha riders, Vinales and Quartararo.
“Looks like it will be interesting, and the temperatures is dropping and like every Sunday race, will be important to choose well the rear tyre.”
Marquez has demonstrated a new tactic in 2019, where he tries to get to the front of the race early and stretch the field, not allowing Dovizioso to hold the pace up. When asked if he planned on using it this weekend, Marquez said: “It’s important to be consistent in the practice, because then in the race you can keep in a better way the rhythm. So, in this free practice in FP3 and FP4 I have been very, very consistent since FP1 and this is the most important.
“Even though we did a change on the bike, but always is the same pace and the same rhythm. This is important for myself and my confidence and we will see. It depends a lot about the rear tyre option and depends a lot about the temperatures. It’s true here you need to manage the tyre and the fuel consumption, you need to manage many things.
“The full tank in the first laps is quite critical too as it’s pushing the bike. All these things we need to pay attention and let’s see.
“I will try to fight for the victory, if it’s not possible time to take points for the championship, but anyway at the moment today on the paper we have a good chance.”
Marquez’ secured the pole position by nearly half a second, whilst looking like he could’ve gone even faster if needed. Despite having the better part of half a second a lap over his rivals, the Spaniard is acutely aware that Dovizioso will be much closer than that in race trim.
“When I saw the gap I was surprised as I expected everyone else to be a bit faster or closer, but anyway today like Andrea said, the track was very slippery during FP4 and quali, so when its slippery it’s one of my strong points,” he said.
“I’m able to stop the bike by sliding with two wheels front and rear, and I can brake later than the others sometime. But in this circuit for example it’s working well, but in others which are more following I cannot use that advantage. But you can use that style for one lap, two laps or three laps.
“The pace like Andrea say is not four tenths, he is much closer, and we have to work hard and understand well. And chose the best option for the race for try to finish in front of them.”