Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez showed flashes of his former self at Le Mans as he rescued his RC213V from two crashes on Friday.
Openly admitting to struggling with the 2022 machine, the eight-time champion completed the opening day of MotoGP practice outside of the top ten - having circulated in 14th in FP2 and ending the day 15th overall.
Two spectacular saves, one in each of the day’s 45-minute sessions, showcased the Spaniard’s returning fitness but his best 1’32.153 time left him a second adrift of the new lap record set by Gresini’s Enea Bastianini.
“The FP2 was a real save,” Marquez said of his near-misses in France. “FP1 was lucky - I just was on the kerb and I lose the front, I just tried to push with the right knee on the floor but then yeah when I take the asphalt again the bike stand up.
“But anyway, I’m struggling. I’m struggling a bit to understand the way to be fast in this race track. Still I’m struggling to turn the bike in a short time and for that reason arrive that save but anyway tomorrow we will try to improve.
“Of course one of the targets is try to be, in FP3 straightaway to Q2 but will be not easy,’ Marquez admitted.
“We need to improve a lot if we want to be inside the top ten. Right now we don’t have the pace, we don’t have the speed.
“But anyway we will see tomorrow. We have some ideas on the bike, try to understand and let’s see if we can do a step.”