LCR Honda’s new rider Alex Marquez felt he had a strong first test with the team in Qatar, despite suffering three crashes across just two days of running.
Marquez’s Saturday was punctuated by a shunt that he described as “a big one” and that left him with scratches on his “face, arms, everything”, presumably as he was hit by pebbles in the run-off.
And Marquez then fell twice more on Sunday, which compromised his ability to do back-to-back tests with different chassis and meant he focused on set-up work instead.
Marquez crashing was a relatively rare sight – at least in race trim – in his rookie year over at the works Honda outfit in 2020.
When asked by The Race whether his three crashes in this test suggested he was having some sort of issue with the latest iteration of the Honda, he said: “The one from yesterday was a big mistake because it was a big crash, but it was a mistake from me. And today both were like something that we needed improve.
“[They were] small mistakes that cost crashes but it’s better to find the limits here and to know the bike here than in the race weekend.”
Elaborating on the two Sunday falls, he said: “One [was when I was] just starting, I was trying different front tyres, and did a small, really small crash, a small mistake.
“But yeah, this disturbed a little bit our work today that we had with two different bikes, so it was a little bit difficult in that point – it was a small crash but the bike took a little bit long to repair. [There] was not so much damage but many things to fit.
“The last one was typical here. It was again with that bike, trying to push with used tyres, before putting [on] the new tyre to make a small time attack.
“But then I did a typical mistake here in Turn 2, that I think many riders also crashed here – so, you know, luckily was not really that much [damage for] the bike again.”
The crashes at Turn 2 were explained on social media by champion Joan Mir’s crew chief Frankie Carchedi, who pointed out the lengthy main straight of the Losail International Circuit was cooling the tyres.
A lot of comments regarding T2. Front tyre is at its coldest. After a km long straight and cold temperatures for sure its up there in the top 3 worst corners. You tend to always watch the screens and check they make T1 split! Good all riders are ok!!
— Frankie (@frankiecarchedi) March 7, 2021
Marquez, who finished the test in 14th place, continued: “I did two mistakes, that’s something I need to improve, and we’ll try to, but the feeling and the positive thing is that with the team I felt so good and so well, and we know more or less clearly what is the way that we need to follow for the next three days.”
Pramac Ducati rookie and Marquez’s fellow ex-Moto3 champion Jorge Martin was another rider to have had multiple crashes across Qatar testing so far.
Martin had a “plane crash”-esque incident in the Friday shakedown and suffered another, albeit much more minor, incident on Sunday.
“I started really enthusiastic after yesterday’s feeling and I crashed on the third lap,” he explained. “Except for this, the day was good.
“I was improving, making good laps with used tyres, and improving every run.”
Like Marquez, Martin too saw the test as a positive outing despite the crashes, having improved “more than three seconds” between the shakedown and Sunday’s running as he ended up 21st-quickest overall.