Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) will be starting the 2018 Gran Premio Red Bull de España from P5 after a more difficult qualifying session, getting shuffled back from the front row. It’s a circuit that has sometimes been a bigger challenge for the reigning World Champion – for reasons he isn’t sure of – although he has been on the podium every year.
Way back when, however, before Marquez debuted in the 125 World Championship and took his first ever podium at Donington Park in 2008, Jerez had been the stage for a his first – and only – win in the CEV, then the Spanish national 125 Championship and now the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship.
Now 11 years ago, Marquez will be pushing to emulate that and his 2014 MotoGP™ win from pole – but in 2018 he’ll be attempting that from the second row.
“Today was not my best quali,” begins the number 93 when debriefing the day. “The thing was that the potential of the tyre was good on the first lap. The strategy that Cal had was the best one but on the other hand, every lap, we made some mistake. I couldn’t do the perfect lap, maybe I was pushing the bike too much, the track was slippery, it was warmer and more slippery.” Never one to be negative, the reigning Champion does see some silver linings, however – with fifth by no means a disaster. “On the other hand, I’m happy, we’ll start fifth, front row is important but we’re in front and we have the pace. The main thing to choose is the tyre.”
Always a key, Marquez also has his eye on something else – his teammate. Although riding injured, Dani Pedrosa qualified second and showed some serious speed.
“Cal is on pole and he will be fast, but on pace Dani is very, very fast,” affirms Marquez. “Normally, Dani is able to take a rhythm and keep the laps the same so we need to work on that, to get the pace too, but our lap times are good and very close to his so of course it will be tough. It’s not like Austin, but it’s a good place.”
With 12 riders within 0.8 seconds, it’s certainly not like Austin. Tune in to see how the Spanish GP hots up from 14:00 (GMT +2) on Sunday.