Marquez: Ducati fast, never forget Yamaha, entry fixed?

'It looks like it's between Honda and Ducati, but I never forget Yamaha. I followed some Yamahas today and it looks like they had the potential and they will arrive' - Marc Marquez, Spanish MotoGP.
Marquez: Ducati fast, never forget Yamaha, entry fixed?

Friday at the Spanish MotoGP saw a Honda one-two in the morning, followed by a Ducati one-two in the afternoon.

But world champion Marc Marquez also expects 'Yamaha to arrive' in the coming days, despite a gloomy assessment by Valentino Rossi.

Although Rossi languished in 16th (but within 0.8s of Danilo Petrucci) team-mate Maverick Vinales was a close sixth (+0.2s), followed by Fabio Quartararo in eighth (+0.3s) and Franco Morbidelli eleventh (+0.569s) on the Petronas machines.

Meanwhile, it was Repsol Honda's Marquez who topped the opening session on his way to second overall behind Ducati's Petrucci and looking like the rider to beat on the hard rear-tyre.

"It's early to say, but of course it looks like the two Ducati factory riders are very, very fast. And then also I was able to have a good pace. Crutchlow also in the end did a good lap time. Even Jorge especially this morning was fast, this afternoon he struggled a little bit more," Marquez said.

"It looks like it's between Honda and Ducati, but I never forget Yamaha. I mean I followed some Yamahas today and it looks like they had the potential and they will arrive."

Aside from his consistent speed, Marquez's Jerez hopes have also been boosted by progress with the mystery engine set-up issue (perhaps engine braking) that contributed to his shock corner-entry fall in Austin.

"I'm very happy today because honestly speaking the problem that we had in the first three races - okay you can say 'you won' in Argentina but the problem was there, I was able to adjust, but in Austin I was not able to adjust," he said.

"The Repsol Honda team did a great job, especially in Japan, they worked with the test team and we improved a lot on that area and especially entry of the corner.

"Now I feel better in the way that is more predictable, the engine. So this is something that helps a lot to be safer on the bike because if not sometimes I was doing some mistakes that I didn't understand. And today we were working in a better way."

Much of the Jerez circuit has been resurfaced since November's test, with Marquez revealing a clear difference between the grip of the new and old sections, yet overall the track now seems less temperature sensitive.

"The grip of the track changes a lot between the new asphalt and old asphalt. It's just three or four corners with the old asphalt and you can feel like the set-up changed, so you need to adapt with the riding style," Marquez revealed.

"But it's also true that with the new asphalt looks like the change of temperature from the morning to the afternoon, the grip is of course a little bit less, but very equal. So this is important because you can work on the set-up in the morning and the afternoon.

"Apart from that, we started with a different set-up compared to the November test because with new asphalt normally always the bike is working in a different way."

The new asphalt means Michelin has brought a larger than usual offering of four different front and four different rear slicks.

Marquez, whose Texas DNF means he has slipped to fourth in the world championship, spent Friday alternating between the soft and hard rear tyres. But at present the soft is not a viable race option for the #93.

"I tried to check everything at the correct temperature [for the race] and the soft tyre, I did two runs, but then the last run I put the used hard from the morning and did a 1m 38.1s. So I was faster already.

"But you never know because during a weekend the track is changing and you need to understand. But at the moment if the race was tomorrow, the soft option would not be the best.

"Now we need to try the medium [rear] because it looks like also the performance is good…"

As well as a soft rear tyre, the Honda swingarm attachment is also unlikely to be seen on Marquez's RC213V for Sunday's race.

"The piece, the spoiler, at the moment I don’t plan to try. We have the Monday test," he said. "I tried it in Austin, it was not clear, so when it's not clear on the race weekend you just need to keep going with the things you know. At the moment the base is good. This is the most important."

Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was fourth on combined times.