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Preseason is over, and the time is now. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) is heading into the first race of the year a little more nervous than usual – it being the first race – but ready to get his title defence into gear. After three crowns in four years of competition in the premier class for the rider from Cervera, expectations are high once again as year five kicks off.
This year the grid has shuffled around the number 93, and the stage is set for another stunning season to get underway. With the line in Qatar sometimes harder to walk given the sand, the number 93 nevertheless feels the improvements from last preseason to this. The goal first time out? Podium.
Marc Marquez: “The first race of the season is always a special one because you’re a bit more nervous than usual! The Qatar track is also one of the most special circuits on the calendar and one of the main things to consider is the sand, which can make the surface quite slippery as soon as you get off the best line. The limit is very narrow. There are three very strong braking points and you need good front stability. Maybe it’s not one of the best tracks for my riding style, but I like it and we have worked very hard during the preseason to find a good rhythm and a good base setup for all circuits. From a technical point of view, we’re starting this Championship better than the last one, and although that doesn’t automatically mean that the results will be better, I think our machine has reached a level to fight for the podium. We’ll try to manage well from the beginning on Thursday.”