Hero to zero | No respite for Marc Marquez as two Q1 crashes leave him baffled

Marc Marquez finds time to crash twice during 12-minute Q1 session for the Indonesian MotoGP as he and Pol Espargaro surprisingly struggle in Mandalika

Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda

Marc Marquez admits he never ‘felt ready’ for qualifying ahead of the Indonesian MotoGP as he suffered two falls in just a few minutes to leave him down on the fifth row for the second round of the season.

The inaugural visit to the Mandalika Circuit for this weekend’s Indonesian MotoGP has unexpectedly thrown up some surprising outcomes following free practice and qualifying, with many of the pace setters during testing a month ago finding themselves on the bottom half of the grid.

For Marquez though, this weekend has seen a reprisal of the error-strewn woes that afflicted both himself and Honda during a damaging 2021 MotoGP campaign, with three accidents over the course of the weekend - including two during the short Q1 session - leaving him 14th on the grid.

"In Q1, I did not feel ready, but I tried," he said. "There was no option to be in QP2. The second crash was something that I could avoid but I was 'burning' too much, when I went wide I knew it was my last chance. 

“I tried to stay inside anyway, touched the dirty part of the track and lost the front. The second crash I understand, the first crash I don’t understand."

Admitting he didn’t expect to be having such problems on top of his own challenges adapting to the overhauled RC213V package, Marquez turned the finger of blame on himself this time.

"I say unexpected problems because at the test we all rode very well: me, Pol, Taka, my brother. Since we arrived here we start to struggle a lot with the rear and we push a lot with the front.

"I don’t feel good like in Qatar but the others have the same tyre, so it's the same for everyone," he said. "We need to understand the situation to take profit from these tyres. Quartararo did the same time today as in the test so the performance [from the modified tyres] is there."

Indeed, Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro was fastest of all over the three day acclimatisation test, with his run to the podium in the season-opening Qatar MotoGP pointing towards a similar performance this weekend.

However, a change of rear tyre casing - a firmer solution than what was used during testing due to concerns over blistering - has left Espargaro struggling to find a good set-up on the Honda RC213V.

"Honda designed a new bike that fits perfectly with the current [2022] tyres. Then there was some problem during the test and to improve these problems Michelin brought four-year-old tyre [technology].

"So what we face is we have a bike, the best bike on the grid I would say with the correct tyres, but now it's fitted with four-year-old tyres that this bike isn’t made for."

"We saw Ducati struggling massively at the test here, they were super slow, especially on rhythm. Now they are flying.”