·@marcmarcquez93: “we have a good pace for tomorrow”
The starting grid for the last race of the season was set on Saturday afternoon at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, from which Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa will take off from second and eighth, respectively. The 2016 World Champion was fastest in today’s two Free Practice sessions, despite a crash under braking at Turn 6 at the end of FP4. In qualifying he set a 1:29.741 –3 tenths off poleman Jorge Lorenzo. On the other side of the Repsol Honda Team garage, Dani Pedrosa –still recovering from recent injuries– took a step forward from Friday. Fourth in FP3, he placed tenth in FP4 despite a crash and took a praiseworthy eighth position on the grid with a time of 1:30.574.
“We’re happy because getting a place on the front row was our main objective, since we knew that it would be very difficult to get pole position today. We pushed our hardest and I had been preparing since the last Free Practice session, in which I had a little crash while I was looking for the limit. Then in qualifying, our original plan was to use just two tyres and to make two or three laps at the end, but in my first exit I found Iannone going quite slow in the middle of the track. I think he just didn’t see me, so though I got a bit angry in that moment as I was approaching quite fast, now everything is okay and there are no problems. Anyway, today Lorenzo was a step ahead of us, especially with the new tyres, and I congratulate him for the time he set. Regarding the tyre choice for the race, we’ll see tomorrow: I feel good enough with the soft rear but we think it may not last the race. This morning we were quite good with the harder option as well, so let’s wait and see. Tomorrow in the warm-up we’ll also try to make another little step with the setup to improve in T4, but anyway, generally speaking I’m happy because we’ve worked well and I think we have a good pace for tomorrow.”
“I’m really tired after the practice sessions today. I felt a little more pain than yesterday but I tried to improve my lap times. It was worth pushing this morning to go directly into Q2; it was a positive thing and a good step forward, but after FP4 I found it hard to regain energy for qualifying. I tried my hardest anyway but the times of the riders in front were very fast, and even behind there were riders in the low 1’30” range. It wasn’t easy for me to reach that level, but I’m happy overall and looking forward to tomorrow. We’ll have to choose well the rear tyre for the race; if tomorrow is cloudy, the choice won’t be so clear, so let’s wait and see. It will be a long race but I hope I can recover more energy and be as fast as possible.”