Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez completed the first MotoGP test of 2022 ‘happy, tired’ and eighth overall, just 0.2s off the top time.
A difficult couple of years marred with injury issues and rehabilitation, most recently the Diplopia diagnosis last October, had forced the Repsol rider to take a break from his usual training regime and while he finally received the all clear in January, the down time has taken it’s toll on the 28-year-old as the new season swung into action.
“I’m happy about these two days also I’m tired,” Marquez admitted from the Sepang International paddock on Sunday.
“We are very positive to be here in Malaysia, to be back on track I was very happy. Is true that I suffer but anyway it’s time to suffer now in the preseason for try to enjoy it on the race.
“Today has been a good day, when I push the speed is there. When I want to try the things just today I take an easy mode and just try things on the bike because to push and to really make good lap times consistent, I didn’t have enough physical condition.
“[Yesterday] I did many laps. Of course the day was too long. Too long in terms of I was tired but anyway, I feel good with the bike and was normal after a long time. Good, fast, some mistakes, everything. We have a day that we achieve all the parameters.
“I can say that I was in a similar condition like 2018/19,” he continued, focusing on his rehabilitation. “Because it’s true that I feel okay now, but I started my physical training two weeks ago. Yesterday I was able to ride well, today in the morning when I want to push I ride well, but then during the day, at the moment is impossible to stay all the day in a constant pace, consistent and fast, pushing. For example today at midday we planned to keep riding. This was the plan but I asked the team to stop because I was riding not in a good way. Then I say ‘It’s better to stop and then in the afternoon come back’. Unlucky for us in the afternoon rain, but anyway, this is the best training on the bike, riding and also to understand the new bike, that was the first time that I ride with this new bike.
“I think the most difficult test was this one in Malaysia,” he explained. “Is a really physical track, is really demanding and was the most difficult test even because was the first one. But now we have four days to take a rest and then come back and riding Mandalika three days, so looking forward to stay on the bike and do my laps.”
The Repsol rider was quick to praise his new RC213V despite the obvious learning curve after a dominant period on his trusty Honda of old.
“The good thing is that the speed is there,” Marquez confirmed of the 2022 revolution. “This morning when I push the speed was there. When I push in the midday the speed was there, just yesterday I did already two small mistakes and today I say ‘Okay, I don’t want to do the same mistakes’. Just I slow down and I was riding in an easy mode. In the afternoon in the damp conditions I went out again to understand this bike and yeah, it was fast again so happy.
“The bike has potential,” he continued. “I think it’s better than the other one but difficult to understand. Is a big change. Many years riding with the same character of the bike and now the character is different so I need to understand still the limits. I lose one time the front and I didn’t understand why. All these things the preseason is for that, for improve the machine but also to find the limit, to find the different feeling on the bike. Will be important also to do, not long run like the race but maybe some runs with more laps in a row. So let’s see.
“The bike has potential and the fact is when I want to push, the time is coming,” the eight-time champion confirmed ominously. “So the bike has potential. Today I start to understand better the front feeling. We make a small change and worked better. Even Pol, my brother were very fast also in a long run. I didn’t make a long run because was more plan on the afternoon but there was rain. But in the afternoon also in damp conditions I feel okay immediately when I go out, so happy. Happy because we did a good test and will be a good two days to prepare well the Mandalika test.”