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Marquez still riding Ducati like Honda in Sepang MotoGP test

Marc Marquez feels he is still riding Ducati’s MotoGP challenger as if it’s a Honda due to drastic differences in how the two bikes use their rear tyres.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Following an initial run in Valencia at the post-season test last year, Marquez is getting a second chance at getting accustomed to the GP23 in this week’s official pre-season test at Sepang.

Completing a total of 72 laps on Wednesday, the Gresini rider ended up 14th on the timesheets with a lap that was almost a second down on the factory Ducati of Enea Bastianini.

While it was a much more productive day for the Spaniard compared to Tuesday’s opening day of the test in which he stopped multiple times on track due to mechanical issues, he feels there are still several areas where he could improve as he continues his transition from Honda.

Specifically, the braking and rear tyre usage on the Ducati is completely opposite to the Honda RC213V, something Luca Marini also found out after going the opposite way to Marquez in the off-season by leaving VR46 for Honda.

Marquez feels the differences between the two bikes are so significant that he has to unlearn some of his old patterns, as he feels his current riding style won’t let him extract the best out of his year-old Ducati.

“The way to use the rear tyre is completely different,” he explained. “For that reason still I'm riding the Ducati like Honda.

“In Valencia it was okay but here, no. And now I need to take out the habit of 11 years that's gone by. So this is difficult.

“When you are in the rhythm it's easier because you have more time. But when you are on a time attack, you are not thinking, you are going by instinct.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“And if I'm riding by instinct I'm riding like Honda. But it's not the best way to ride this bike. So step by step, it's a process.”

Marquez believes he is not able to take advantage of Ducati’s rear grip, which has left him struggling for acceleration - particularly exiting fast corners.

“The way to stop the Ducati bike is different [compared to Honda],” he said. “But on the brake point I'm not losing. It’s the opposite, I'm gaining compared to other Ducati riders.

“Still I need to understand the rear grip because it's a lot, but you need to understand how to use [it]. And it's for that reason with a used tyre I'm able to be in a good pace, but with a new tyre I still don't take enough profit.

“But to stop the bike, I understand better and better step by step. In the first part of the day I was struggling but this second part of the day was better.

“At the moment where I'm losing more is the exit of the corner, especially on the fast corners.

“In slow corners I'm fast but on the fast corners where you need to have the confidence of the bike to push and it's where I am still struggling.”

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Having only got three days’ worth of running on the Ducati until now, Marquez feels he is still struggling for single lap-pace due to limited opportunities to test new tyres on the bike.

This is one area where the six-time MotoGP world champion wants to improve, as he believes he is able to get into a rhythm during longer runs.

“In the last part of the day I had one tyre for the time attack. I decided to do 10 laps, the sprint race [simulation], because I feel it was necessary to understand this bike with more laps in a row.

“In fact during the sprint race I was starting, going slower, and in the end faster. So that means I was understanding the bike better lap by lap.

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“I was struggling a lot on the time attack. It's where I'm struggling more because it's the most difficult to understand for the rider, how to use the new tyre to the bike.

“Because [for] the rhythm [and] the pace with the used tyre, you have a lot of laps. You have 15 laps.

“But for the time attack you only have two laps and after two hours you have another two laps for a time attack. So it's where I still need to understand how to use a tyre."

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