Álex Márquez is delighted with life in his first steps as a Ducati rider. The man from the Gresini team closed the Portimao test as the best Spaniard on the grid, seventh, 0.434 behind the head and well ahead of his brother Marc, who with the Honda was 0.396 behind his little brother. both share motorhome on the circuits and the two-time champion told with a laugh that the night before the eight-time champion had told him that he saw him very fast on the Ducati…
When asking Álex how the reunion between the two brothers went last night, after how far ahead he had finished (fourth) and how far Marc did (19th), he said with a laugh: “We were both tired, but my brother told me yesterday that I was going fast. I asked him how it had gone and he told me that he had tried many things on the bike and that not everything worked. They were general comments, because we are in different factories. They are suffering and they are in a difficult situation, but I know Marc and what he does in GP. I know he will get better.”
Regarding what Álex has learned from this second day of testing in Portimao, in which he has had two falls, he assured: “Today I have not focused so much on testing things but on extracting the maximum potential of the bike. That was the goal he wanted. If you change things you never reach the limit of the bike. I have focused on that and discarding things first thing in the morning. Went well. I’ve had my first crash and I’ve seen a bit where the limit is, which is also good for the GP. I had a good first day, but it was even better on the second day, and that is important for confidence and the race.”
It was the usual trend to see the pilots do race simulations at the sprint, the new modality that is incorporated this year on GP Saturdays. This was Álex’s: “I didn’t finish it because I had a crash at the end. I was doing 39.2 and 39.3 and still had one lap to go. I saw that I had a margin and I wanted to go for 39.0, but I went a little long in the first corner, I entered the curb too lean to avoid touching the green and I fell. But it hasn’t been anything and I’ve returned to the box on a motorcycle. This second fall counts as such, but not quite.
In addition to the two falls, he had some scares entering the finish line, about which he commented: “Yes, yes, entering the finish line and also in 12. The plan was to take it as a 12-lap qualifying, giving it my all and see how he fell the tire. It was a first contact to get to the first race with things clearer in terms of electronics and me, to be better prepared. I probably used too much rear tire at the start and at the end I arrived a bit tight, but the objective was not to hold anything back and give it my all. La 12 is a curve that I like a lot and I have made the mistake of wanting to exaggerate it too much. In that exaggeration I had that little scare, but I’m used to scares and I really enjoy it”.
There have been pilots, like Marini, who have said that for the sprint race, nothing will have to be saved, but rather go out and give everything from start to finish. In this sense, the Catalan says: “The tire falls, but not as much as in a normal race in the last ten laps, which is the critical moment.”
On his goal for this year: “You always wish you were a little more prepared and had two more days of testing, or a hundred more days, but they are limited and I think we arrived prepared and in a good position, with everything going well and quite clear. That is important. If it were today, we would be fighting in the top 5, but we will have to see how it goes in the GP, day by day and being realistic. If my goal is the top 5? In the long term, no, but it is after three or four races that you set the goal. Who expected Bastianini in the top three last year? Almost nobody. In the day to day is where you see how things come and you have to be prepared. You don’t have to think too much about the future and eat your head more than necessary.
And, seen what was seen in the preseason, his list of favorites is the following: “Pecco is strong, the Aprilia too, Aleix, Maverick and Oliveira, Martín of course and Bastianini although suffering something else. First Pecco, second Martín, the Aprilia and us. And Quartararo too, because in the end he had a good lap and he had left it to me, because he had been missing until that lap.