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Marquez ‘doesn’t understand’ Portimao MotoGP practice speed

Marc Marquez admits he ‘doesn’t understand’ why he was so strong on his return to MotoGP action in Portuguese Grand Prix practice, 265 days after he last rode his Honda.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Marquez made his long-awaited comeback on Friday at the Algarve International Circuit, having sat out the 2020 season after breaking his right arm badly in the season-opening Spanish GP at Jerez.

Third-fastest on a drying track in FP1, Marquez bagged himself a provisional Q2 place after ending FP2 sixth quickest with a lap just 0.473s off pacesetter Francesco Bagnaia's Ducati.

Marquez explained that his arm felt “tired” in FP2, but while his physical condition remains a question mark going forward, he says he went “better than expected”.

“It was a great day, a great feeling and honestly speaking I go out on the first run – the track was not so good, but immediately I felt good on the bike,” he said.

“In the morning, in terms of feeling I felt better than in the afternoon because I was fresh. The arm was fresh and I had power.

“Then already in the afternoon I struggled a little bit more to warm up the arm and I start to feel the arm was a little bit more tired. Apart from that, we are in a much better situation than what we expected before the weekend.

“I don’t know how, because I don’t understand what’s going on. I’m just riding the bike, trying to follow my way.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“The lap times are coming; it’s not the most important thing, but they are coming in a good way.

“But it’s true the main question mark for me – the speed is there – so it’s about how the arm will react during the weekend when I get up tomorrow.”

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Marquez’s final lap in FP2 on soft tyres was spectacular, the Honda rider saving a big moment on the way into Turn 7.

When asked by Autosport to explain that moment, Marquez said: “The last lap was a little bit crazy, I didn’t like the last lap, but I had a nice save.

“But it’s my riding style, I don’t know. It’s true with the new tyre I’m struggling a little bit more than with the used tyre.

“[On the used tyre] the bike becomes softer, the lap times are slower and I feel much more comfortable.

“But with new tyres everything is more stiff, and specifically in that corner – I think it was Turns 6 and 7, that change of direction – my head said it was time to go in on Turn 7, but the body didn’t follow what I wanted.

“I just slid a little bit, was a save but I created the slide to finish the turn because was the last lap and I didn’t give up the lap.

“Things [like] that of course with more laps on the track I will improve.”

Marquez added that he still doesn’t have a target in mind for the race on Sunday, as it will all depend on how his arm reacts over the rest of the weekend.

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