The 2020 MotoGP season keeps on delivering surprise performances, and perhaps one of the most unexpected so far was in this morning’s warm-up for the Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna at Misano.
Rookie factory Honda rider Alex Marquez ended the 20-minute session fastest.
That’s the same Marquez and Honda who have been struggling so badly since elder brother Marc’s season-wrecking injury.
However, it’s hard to get too excited about the reigning Moto2 world champion’s progress just yet, after an unusual Sunday morning on a cool track featuring odd conditions across all three classes.
“We know his potential, we believe in him and that’s why he’s here” :: Alberto Puig on Alex Marquez
Moto2 was particularly hard hit, with title contenders Marco Bezzecchi, Luca Marini, Sam Lowes and Tetsuki Nagashima all experiencing unexpected falls.
That was repeated in the premier class, too, with front-row qualifier Jack Miller a heavy crasher.
However, there’s still clear progress evident as Marquez reaches the halfway point in his rookie season on a bike that’s horrible to ride and without his injured brother Marc on the other side of the Honda garage.
“He made a big step during the test and now we have to confirm that step,” said team boss Alberto Puig after Tuesday’s test for Marquez at the Misano circuit. “I think it’s important to confirm the steps.
“We’re not surprised because we know the potential of the guy. Even though people make strange comments, we know his potential, we believe in him and that’s why he’s here. We’ll keep on our plan and the guy will keep going.”
There’s a chance for another step forward in today’s race too. Starting from 17th as he continues to struggle with time attack mode, Marquez is quietly confident for the race.
“Our rhythm is good but we can’t make a big step like the others with the soft tyre,” he said.
“Since Jerez we have improved this and even since last weekend we have found some time but everyone else has also made a step.
“I feel good on the bike but when we put a new tyre in, the situation changes.
“It will be a hard fight tomorrow starting from where we are but if we can make some moves at the start we can make some progress.”