Honda’s Marc Marquez believes he is in the hunt for victory in the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix, and claims he would have taken pole position if his final effort in qualifying had counted.
Second-fastest qualifier Marquez said he recorded a 1m54.2s lap, but only after he’d taken the chequered flag in qualifying.
Jorge Lorenzo’s pole time was 1m54.543s.
“I feel ready to fight for the podium, and if everything is fine, for the victory,” said Marquez. “We miscalculated with the team, and passed the flag one second after the finish.
“I didn’t see the flag and then just as I pushed for the last lap, I thought I was on pole position!
“I see on my dashboard a 54.2s, but, OK, it’s fine to start from second place.”
“The feeling is coming back”
Marquez admitted there had been a huge turnaround in form since pre-season testing, and only on the final day of the last test did he feel a big step had been made by Honda.
“If you’d have said this two weeks ago, I would say you are crazy,” said Marquez. “We did a great job, Honda is working 100 percent supporting me, and still we are not like 100 percent right in all areas, but we are working well and we did a huge step.
“We normally struggle a lot at this circuit, but I felt ready to make a fast lap. The feeling is coming back, this is the most important [aspect] and for tomorrow’s race we will see how it is.”
Huge moment at practice start
Marquez does have one big concern going into the race, as his practice start at the end of qualifying went disastrously wrong and spat him sharp left into a gravel trap, where he almost fell.
“I had a big moment, we have to check well what happened,” he added.
“This cannot happen in the race, because it will be really dangerous.”