French MotoGP pole sitter Marc Marquez said that today’s wet qualifying session wasn’t just about speed, it was about strategy too.
The Spaniard secured his 55th premier class pole position, bringing him level with Valentino Rossi, in Le Mans, but it wasn’t all plain sailing for the World Championship leader. Posting his fastest lap of the session on his first flying lap, Marquez then crashed at the downhill right handed turn six.
Able to remount, but with the weather worsening, neither Marquez nor any of the other top twelve were able to improve or better Marquez’ early time. Noting the rain was getting heavier, Marquez knew he had to get a lap in and push before he could really go for it, which he ultimately did, leading him to his accident.
“It was a difficult quali because it was not only about the speed, it was about the strategy, about understanding and being smart and understanding the track conditions,” said the 26-year-old.
“Immediately when I went out I saw that we did the correct decision, which was to start with the wet. Then immediately I saw the light rain became heavier and heavier and then in the first lap I push a little bit and it was enough to be in pole.
“Then on the second lap it was the strategy. On the first lap to push a little bit but on the second one to give everything, and then when I give everything, it was three corners, which were very good, but then on the fourth one I fall down.
“Apart from that happy because in every condition were not so bad, they were good. We will see tomorrow, we hope for a dry or wet race, because if it’s like today it’s so difficult. With this light rain, the track becomes very slippery and it’s very difficult to chose a tyre and we will see.”
Marquez didn’t pit after his crash, and when asked why, he said: “I saw that the bike was pretty good and then I immediately understand that the track was very slippery and nobody, or it was very difficult to be faster than a 41.
“But I stay out as tomorrow it may be these conditions, so I stayed out to understand the way to ride and the way to set up the bike and we still have to improve a few things. But I stayed out to prepare for the race.”
Marquez’ MotoGP qualifying record is sensational, now just three pole positions behind Mick Doohan’s premier class record, it appears a matter of when, and if Marquez breaks the Aussie’s record. The Spaniard gave a small insight into how he is so strong in qualifying.
“I always say that the race starts on Saturday,” he said. “The qualifying is always really important, especially in MotoGP. If you’re starting at the front then you can manage in a different way the tyres and the risks.”