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Marquez now 'looking for final three tenths' on Ducati MotoGP bike

Marc Marquez says he’s now at the stage of his Ducati adaptation where he is looking for “the last three tenths” to be on par with the leaders in MotoGP.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The eight-time grand prix world champion ended pre-season testing in Qatar on Tuesday fourth overall and just under four tenths off the pace set by factory Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia.

That came despite a first crash on the Gresini Ducati, which he says was the result of him exploring the limits of the GP23 for the first time.

Analysing his pre-season, Marquez noted “it’s always in racing we say the last three tenths are the most difficult ones” and this is now what he is looking for.

“I mean, of course you never want to crash, and you want to stay on the bike,” he said.

“But it’s true when I crashed I saw that I was going wide, I was going too fast in but I said ‘ok, where is the limit of this bike’ and then I did the long run of 12 laps and was planned to arrive at 18 laps more or less.

“But then I said ‘ok, no remains five laps, I will try to increase one step’. But maybe I increased it in one point we cannot do on this bike.

“So, I lost the front in Turn 4, but it’s important to understand this because until now I was riding very smooth and consistent but never attack in the last tenths.

“It’s always in racing we say the last three tenths are the most difficult ones.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“So, it’s there where I am now, I’m two, three tenths, even four sometimes, behind the top guys. And now I have to understand how to be closer.”

Marquez says he’s “happy” with the progress he has made, but admits there are at least three riders much faster than him right now heading into the opening round of the season in March.

“Yeah, I mean it’s no secret: during all the pre-season I was super calm, because I know that [it’s] step by step, no panic, just sometimes I was super far but trying to understand all the steps I do because it’s a new bike and was important,” he added.

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“But today was the day to do another step, to increase the risk and it’s there where I did it, especially in the time attack I was closer. Also, in the long run I was pushing quite well.

“It’s true that the lap time is not there because there was a problem with my transponder, but it was ok.

“Also, the first crash arrived, but that’s normal because I increased that risk on the bike.

“Apart from that, I’m happy. Still there are three, four, five riders faster than us, especially [Jorge] Martin, [Francesco] Bagnaia, [Enea] Bastianini are faster than us.

“But let’s see. Today I was closer than Malaysia, so step by step we need to understand the way to learn from them.”

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