Hard knocks and complications for Repsol Honda team in Qatar
Lusail, Nov 19 (IANS) A mixed evening at the Lusail International Circuit for the Repsol Honda Team as Marc Marquez made the most of Q2 before overcoming a Sprint full of hard knocks.
Conditions in Qatar remained calm and stable as the premier class rolled out of pit lane under the setting sun to start their Saturday. Both Repsol Honda Team riders completed their final preparations in ‘morning’ practice before heading into Qualifying.
Marquez continued to achieve his targets for each session, transforming a top-ten on Friday into a solid seventh place in Qualifying. Having entered the weekend with reserved expectations, the continual improvements buoyed the eight-time World Champion for the Sprint.
A strong start to the short race saw him hustling in and around the top five with a flurry of hard moves shuffling the pack around. Unfortunately, a racing incident with Brad Binder forced Marquez off track, dropping him back from the group battling at the front.
The fighting resumed for Marquez who did his best to defend before crossing the line in 11th, just outside of the Sprint points.
“We made a really good start to the race and had a strong first lap. Unfortunately, I had a race incident with Binder soon after, it happens. Then I got a bit stuck behind Zarco and I couldn’t get past him which limited us.
“Towards the end of the race I went wide at Turn 1 and had some contact with Raul Fernandez – sorry to him. At a track like Qatar, these things can happen because when you go off line even a little bit it is very slippery. Another one to try tomorrow,” said Marquez.
The complications continued for Joan Mir, who was unable to make major improvements to his overall position throughout Saturday. Qualifying in 20th, the 2020 MotoGP World Champion started well and made up several places in the opening laps.
“Today was really tough and we obviously can’t be happy with the result. There are some things that we need to check deeply to understand our situation better for the race tomorrow. I was expecting more from today because it looked like we had found the direction to follow on Friday. There’s another chance tomorrow so let’s see what’s possible,” Mir said.
The 11-lap Sprint would conclude with Mir battling alongside Takaaki Nakagami, ending the race in 19th.
Now the main event awaits the MotoGP field, the 22-lap Qatar Grand Prix scheduled to commence at 22:30 on Sunday.