2018 MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) had a difficult start to the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix after a crash in FP1 was followed by a time only good enough for P7 at the end of play.
The seven-time Champion lost the front of his Honda heading down into Turn 10, but he wasn’t the only RC213V rider to crash on Day 1 at Phillip Island: “Today I didn’t start with a good feeling on the bike, it was so strange; all the (factory) Hondas crashed today. We were struggling a lot with the front tyres,” explained the number 93, with Friday also seeing teammate Dani Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) crash.
“It was difficult to understand and we had crashes we didn’t expect,” continued Marquez. “Sometimes I understood why but this time I didn’t and it takes time to recover the feedback. But we made a few changes to the bike and I started to feel better and better, so this afternoon I was already feeling good but there’s still a lot of work to do this afternoon or tomorrow.”
His Turn 10 tumble was the Spaniard’s 19th of the season, making him the most crashed rider of 2018 in the premier class. Also, this was his 102nd crash in 105 MotoGP™ starts – a staggering statistic.
“I already tried some new things on the bike and they were not working,” affirms the 25-year-old, who vows to be back at 100% on Saturday ahead of qualifying: “We’ll come back tomorrow. Today I already tried a new setup on the bike to understand well but it wasn’t working, so I just came back. Tomorrow, I’ll have what I know and I’ll be 100%.“
"Of course, I will try to fight for the pole tomorrow but everything is very equal at this circuit, so it’s difficult. I will keep pushing. The most important thing is to keep working for the race. My target is to be on top on Sunday, not tomorrow, but if I have the feeling I will try to push.”
Level 7 was achieved in Japan but it seems this year’s Champion needs to find another level before qualifying if he’s to challenge for pole number 79. However, this is Marquez and with the competition so close at Phillip Island, you'd be foolish to bet against the five-time premier class Champion being able to pull something out the hat.