Marquez gets power back, but Ducati, Yamaha 'far ahead'

Marc Marquez happy with shoulder strength, not so pleased about the gap to Yamaha and Ducati on the opening night in Qatar.
Marquez gets power back, but Ducati, Yamaha 'far ahead'

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez is confident his healing shoulder will be close to 100 percent for the start of the new season after making a 'huge step' between the Sepang test and this weekend's Qatar outing.

"I'm happy about my physical condition because compared to the Malaysia test, we did a huge step. Of course in some areas, I feel some pain, but the power is there, " Marquez said. "Now it looks like I'm able to ride in my normal style."

Despite the shoulder boost, it was far from an easy night for the Repsol Honda rider, who eventually slipped down the order to tenth (+1.1s from Yamaha's Maverick Vinales) having been unhurt during a small fall at Turn 16.

Meanwhile, LCR's Takaaki Nakagami was the top Honda rider in eighth as Yamaha and Ducati riders filled all but one of the top seven positions.

"At the end the grip was getting better and better. Honestly speaking we had some issues on the setup, and we need to work there. We need to understand, because the Ducati riders and Yamaha riders are far ahead of us," Marquez said.

"It's true that normally at this circuit, we struggle. It's true that we have two days more to go, but we need to work in a different way to be closer to them."

The #93 added: "In Malaysia, the bike was easy to ride. And now we are struggling a little bit more. All the Hondas are struggling. We are missing some feeling, and now it's time to understand the set-up of the bike to see how we can improve."

One major decision that looks to have been made is over the engine design, with the latest spec showing impressive top speed.

"Looks like we already decided the engine, because we don't have any more options," he said. "We already decided more or less in Malaysia, and we went with the new spec.

"Let's see if tomorrow and the last day of testing here in Qatar we can improve a few things, because it's time to understand where we can take profit from this engine."

Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was 21st quickest on his return from a wrist fracture during training in January.