Honda rider Marc Marquez will start the last race of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship from second place on the grid later today after he qualified second to Jorge Lorenzo. The 23 year old, who has already secured his third MotoGP Riders World Championship in four seasons, tried everything he knew to better Lorenzo, but to no avail.
Halfway through the 15-minute session he came into the pits and his crew fitted new front and rear tyres, allowing the Spaniard to up his pace, so that halfway through his best lap he was fractionally faster than his fellow Spaniard, but he lost a tenth or two in the final section. Still determined to have one more go, he returned to the pits for a third new rear tyre and during his final run he was once again up on his rival, but over the full lap couldn’t quite match the 2015 champion’s record-breaking place.
Nonetheless, Marquez is confident he can once again be in the fight for victory as he chases a sixth win of 2016.
“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,” he said. “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 tires 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, Lorenzo was a step ahead of us, especially with the new tires, and I congratulate him for the time he set. Regarding the tire choice for the race, we’ll see: 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.”
“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.”
The big job for Marquez will be to ensure that Honda wins the 2016 MotoGP Constructors’ World Championship to add to Marquez’s riders title. Honda currently heads the constructors table by 21 points from Yamaha, which means Honda will win a record-breaking 22nd constructors title, so long as it has one rider in the first 11 finishers. Honda won its first premier-class Constructors World Championship in 1966, when it scored a unique full house, with victory in all five classes: 50cc, 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc.