Marquez worried about Honda’s Qatar MotoGP performance

Oriol Puigdemont and Valentin Khorounzhiy

a man riding a motorcycle on a track: Marquez worried about Honda's Qatar performance
© LAT Images Marquez worried about Honda’s Qatar performance

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez says he is worried about the Honda bike’s performance in the Qatar pre-season test ahead of the 2020 season opener at the same venue.

Though Marquez has not won at the Losail circuit since 2014, he has finished in the top five in every Qatar race since.

After LCR rider Cal Crutchlow said on Saturday that he has to ride the new RC213V like an “amateur” in Qatar, all three of the works bikes finished behind 10th-placed Takaaki Nakagami on the 2019 Honda in Monday’s running.

Asked whether he was concerned by Honda’s Qatar form, Marquez – who crashed on Sunday’s second day of testing – admitted it was a sharp contrast to the previous pre-season test at Sepang.

“Of course I’m worried because I would like to be very fast every lap, every racetrack,” Marquez said.

“But it’s true that that in this racetrack we are worried.

“We have some kind of problems that we’re trying to analyse, because all Honda riders – especially with the new bike – we are struggling a lot in the same point.

“You see that for example Crutchlow, he’s a fast rider here, but he’s struggling a lot, he [also] crashed.

“We are pushing, but we just try to analyse because we know where is the problem but we cannot fix at the moment. Step by step we will try.

“But, on the other hand, in Malaysia we were quite fast, we were consistent, we were riding good.

“We have day and night [difference in pace], it’s true, but the positive thing is that this circuit is the most special one in the calendar.”

a person riding a motorcycle on a track: Marquez worried about Honda's Qatar performance
© LAT Images Marquez worried about Honda’s Qatar performance

Marquez has previously indicated the 2020 Honda has retained the same vices as its predecessor, with the front end remaining a major concern.

He said Honda was still trying to identify and implement a fix in time for Qatar, but added: “The season will be different I think, but the first GP normally we struggle a lot, and we need to have everything in the correct positions if we want to find a good result.”

While Crutchlow’s crash at Turn 2 left him with a right forearm haematoma, casting his participation in the final day of the test into doubt, Marquez escaped injury in his own fall at Turn 8, despite his Honda ending up demolished.

The reigning champion said his continued recovery from off-season shoulder surgery was a key reason for the crash.

“In that point I changed direction in another way, and especially when I’m tired, I just push a lot with my legs because I cannot do so with the shoulders,” he said.

“I just pushed too much with the legs, I lost the front, and with the shoulder I wasn’t able to come back.”

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