MotoGP 2022
Round 14

Tricky Damp Conditions For Honda Riders At Misano

sm Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli

Light rain fell during this afternoon’s two qualifying sessions at Misano on Italy’s Adriatic coast, making life particularly treacherous for MotoGP riders.

Tricky Damp Conditions For Honda Riders At Misano

Latest weather forecasts suggest that rain may return to Misano for tomorrow, the 14th of the 20 races counting towards this year’s MotoGP World Championship, so riders will need to be ready for whatever the weather brings – a dry, damp or soaking-wet track. 

Honda’s four MotoGP riders weren’t able to make the best of this afternoon’s tricky conditions, with Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol Honda RC213V) the fastest, taking a sixth-row start. Tomorrow the 26-year-old former Moto2 and Moto3 World Champion will aim for his third points-scoring race in the last four. 

During the Q1 session Marquez was given advice by older brother Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) who arrived at Misano last night to prepare for his first MotoGP ride since he underwent a humeral osteotomy on his injured right arm in early June. 

The 29-year-old six-times MotoGP king will ride a MotoGP bike for the first time since May’s Italian Grand Prix during Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s official tests here. The decision follows two successful exploratory outings aboard his Honda CBR600RR test bike in Spain. It is still too early to predict when he will return to racing. 

The next fastest Honda rider today after the younger Marquez was Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), who qualified on the seventh row of the grid. The 30-year-old Spaniard was on fine form this morning, running ninth fastest in this morning’s dry FP3 session and pushing hard to further improve his position when he slid off at high speed. Although not seriously hurt he was battered and bruised from the fall, which didn’t help him perform at his best during qualifying. 

Team-mate Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), who is once again substituting for Marc Marquez, will start the race immediately next to Espargaro. Bradl’s usual job is as Honda’s official test rider, so like his fellow RC213V riders he will be racing tomorrow, then testing on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Like Espargaro, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) had realistic hopes of a better performance today, until he slid off in the closing stages of the FP3 session. The 30-year-old will therefore start the race from the row behind the Repsol Honda pair. 

Tomorrow’s San Marino Grand Prix is the penultimate race of the main European segment of the MotoGP championship. After the Aragon round on September 18 the paddock jets east towards Twin Ring Motegi for the first Japanese Grand Prix since 2019, on September 25. The Japanese round is followed by the Thai, Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix. The 2022 season concludes back in Spain, with the Valencia Grand Prix on November 6.

Alex Marquez
Alex Marquez 73
The morning was quite good and on one lap we were close to being in Q2. We did a really solid second day which is the most important thing and I enjoyed it on the bike. We will give everything again tomorrow; we need to keep going and believe we can be there. Tomorrow the target for me is to be between the top 10 to 15. We will try to make a solid race – this is the mentality for tomorrow and we need to push from the first moment. 

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro 44
Repsol Honda Team
Today was a day where we had a huge amount of potential but there were finally a lot of pieces which did not come together. We made a mistake with the FP3 strategy, my first lap – which was my fastest finally, did not feel that good to me. The second tyre felt much better but I crashed. In the afternoon I was cautious on my first flying lap and then the rain started, so we were really hurt here. Tomorrow is a new day and we will try our best to maximise what is possible in the race. 

Stefan Bradl
Stefan Bradl 6
Repsol Honda Team
We have improved again today which is really good, we got very unlucky with when the rain arrived and it stopped us improving further. This can sometimes happen and it’s a shame because we couldn’t show our full speed. Let’s see what will happen tomorrow, our pace is better than some of the riders ahead of us but it can be tricky to overtake around Misano. We also have the weather to contend with. 

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami 30
It was a tough day for us, we tried to improve the bike in FP3 and we are improving some parts of the riding, but still struggling with the flying lap and we couldn’t put together a qualifying lap. In Q1 it was tricky conditions with a few drops of rain on the first outing and we missed the best timing. The position is a long way back, but this track is always another story, so we’ll try to make a good start and bring the maximum performance in the race. 

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