Reigning MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez says that it’ll be anyone’s race to win when the 2018 season kicks off next week in Qatar, after the final pre-season test at the Losail circuit last weekend left the top contenders split by a hair’s breadth and too close on both lap times and race pace to call a race winner.
While Johann Zarco topped the time sheets at the end of the test with a time just over Jorge Lorenzo’s longstanding outright lap record from 2008, the test ended with less than three quarters of a second covering the top ten despite the long three-and-a-half-mile long track.
And with race pace even closer than the outright lap speeds set during the final day’s mini qualifying session as track temperatures fell and grip improved, Marquez is adamant that an analysis of the time sheets means that it’s going to be a chaotic race for him and his opponents when the lights go out for the first time.
“If you look at the rhythm from long runs at the end of the test, it looks like even Petrucci can be very fast in the race! Cal was very fast and consistent, Zarco was fast for one lap even if he struggled more on his long run, at the end of the day Valentino was very fast, and Dovi will be the strongest one.
“But we’re ready to race, and we’ve had a good pre-season. We worked hard in Malaysia, in Thailand and again in Qatar and did a lot of laps to try and understand the bike. We struggled a little bit more at Losail, which I expected, but we made a big step on pace on the final day, which I’m happy about because it’s been my weakest point there.”