MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez has shrugged off a crash on the opening day of practice for the Valencian Grand Prix, downplaying the spill at the end of the day’s action as normal despite going into the weekend as the favourite to lift the crown come Sunday’s final race of the season.
Crashing out almost as the chequered flag came out (almost something of a tradition for the Repsol Honda rider this year) and ending the day fifth overall, he’s confident that ultra-fast race pace means that he’s in a comfortable position for the race.
“I felt really good today, so we just tried to work hard for the race, riding with used tires to find the best setting and the best compromise. We tried two different setups, one similar to what we used last year and one more based on what we’ve been using recently. Tomorrow we’ll adjust the final details and we’ll go for a time attack, but I’m happy with the general feeling.
“Our pace this morning, on a medium rear tire, was good and in the afternoon I felt well on a soft rear, despite a small crash during my last lap when I was pushing a little bit more. It was important to start the weekend well, and I feel good on the bike, so we’ll try to keep this momentum going until Sunday.”
The day was more positive for teammate Dani Pedrosa, though, finishing up second overall but careful not to get ahead of himself with too much confidence.
“I’m happy enough with how today went. In the afternoon, when the track was a little warmer and there was more grip than in the morning, I felt more comfortable on the bike. If it remains dry through the weekend, as it seems it will, the track will continue to improve and the grip will also get better, so we must remain focused and continue in this direction.
“Today we worked well to understand the tires, our pace and bike setup, but tomorrow will be another important day of practice and opportunity to continue the progress. Sunday’s race is in the afternoon, but we want to improve also in cooler conditions.”