Pramac’s Jorge Martin claimed his second MotoGP front row start of 2022 after qualifying just 0.213s off pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo at Mandalika.
The satellite Ducati rider was joined by teammate Johann Zarco for the Parc Fermé celebrations with the Frenchman a further tenth behind, the Pramac pair hoping to maintain their advantage as tomorrow inaugural IndonesianGP on Lombok unfolds.
“Was a really difficult qualifying for me because the conditions were so hot and I was struggling a bit with the front,” Martin admitted from the Mandalika paddock. “My first lap, I lose the front in the first corner then I had a moment to think about if I keep pushing or if I stop and lose that lap but I keep pushing. Also, I lost the front in corner 16 but even though, I could finish a good lap and finish second is good.
“The target was first row, I don't think about the pole positions because he [Quartararo] was super competitive today. Let's see tomorrow. The pace is good, I think we can battle with the top guys. I was more confident than in Qatar so yeah, I'm really happy.
“I tried a bit the medium and we were working a bit on the setup because I was struggling in some areas,” he continued, referencing Michelin’s ‘special casing’ tyre allocation for this weekend’s intense temperatures. “I am more confident on braking, that is a big improvement from Qatar, that there was losing a bit. I think there are four or five riders really close. Also Marc [Marquez] on the back and Pol [Espargaro] have a good pace but they are back on the grid. The tyre choice will be important but I think both tyres are working so closely. So let's see the decision.
“In the test I was feeling much better with the rear tyre, also the soft was more consistent I think. At the end of the day less tyre, less grip, so we feel a lot of spin my side. We are working on it. Try to manage the best way as possible.
“The start will be important and then I don't know, there are five/six riders with really close pace. For sure I will be one of them. I feel great.”
While Martin has experience of the Lombok layout from the February teat, a refreshed surface and tropical weather leaves a lot of unknowns, with the track awash with dirt after each new downpour.
“The line is so narrow and if you go out of the lines, is really dirty so it's difficult,’ he confirmed. “The start will be important for sure but starting from the front is always good, and here much more. I am confident that is much better also than in test. In testing was completely impossible even to follow someone and now is much better. So yeah, I think you can overtake but it's a bit tricky and a bit risky also. So yes, be careful!”