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MotoGP Japanese GP

Marquez feels “unlucky” to miss Motegi MotoGP Q2 after yellow flag confusion

Marc Marquez says he feels “unlucky” to have missed direct progression to Q2 for MotoGP’s Japanese Grand Prix qualifying following confusion over a yellow flag zone.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Honda rider Marquez had set a lap good enough to make the top 10 in Friday afternoon’s second practice session and thus secure a guaranteed spot in the second part of qualifying, but this was scrubbed for a yellow flag violation.

The lap would have been good enough to get him into Q2, but the six-time MotoGP champion pushed for a further improvement and instead ended up in the gravel at Turn 1.

With his best lap taken away, Marquez was left 14th-fastest, two spots behind team-mate Joan Mir, and facing the prospect of fighting his way out of the first part of qualifying on Saturday.

But the six-time champion admits that he didn't realise that in reality he didn't need to push any harder to get through to Q2.

“It was a good day, but unlucky,” summarised Marquez. “Some days I go into Q2 without [having] the speed, but today I had the speed and I was not able to be in Q2.

“With the first tyre, I did a mistake on the first corner and I missed the lap. I touched the green [tarmac] also, but I lost a lot of tenths there.

"With the second tyre I missed the lap for a yellow flag [caused by a crash for Raul Fernandez]. Then on the last lap it was a misunderstanding for me, because I never saw that yellow flag.

“I thought that my time was a 1m44.0s, and then I arrived on the last lap thinking I had to improve on 1m44.0s, and to improve on that is to ride on the extra-limit.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“That’s the reason I crashed, because if I knew that 1m44.2s, 1m44.3s was a good lap [to make Q2] already, I would have approached it in a different way.”

However, Marquez concedes that Honda is at best the fourth-most competitive manufacturer at its home track, with European brands Ducati, Aprilia and KTM monopolising the top 10 positions on Friday between them.

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“Apart from [the crash], we are half-a-second slower than the top guys,” said Marquez. “The Ducatis are faster than us, KTM are faster than us and Aprilia is faster than us.

“So if you put all those guys in front of us, we are 10th, 12th.”

Marquez was also asked to comment on changes going on behind the scenes at Honda, following the news that the marque’s technical chief Shinichi Kokobu has been moved aside.

Honda’s ability to recruit new personnel to bolster its competitiveness is thought to have been one of the key factors in determining the Spanish rider’s future.

“It’s true that already in Misano I said there were some new faces there, new names, new people,” said Marquez. “We will see if they bring new ideas or the correct ideas.

“But one more time I continue with my words: I’m not the guy who chooses where, how and who needs to make the bike. I’m the guy to evaluate on the race track and give my 100 percent on the race track.”

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