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MotoGP Qatar GP

MotoGP title challenger Martin ‘lost all of practice’ to tyre issue in Qatar

MotoGP title challenger Jorge Martin says he "lost" all of second practice for the Qatar Grand Prix on Friday to a tyre issue.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

The Pramac Ducati rider comes to Qatar trailing Francesco Bagnaia by 14 points and will lose the championship if he is outscored by 23 points this weekend.

After a tough Malaysian GP last week in which he was beaten to third by Bagnaia, Martin’s Qatar GP didn’t get off to a great start as he struggled for speed in the first half of second practice.

At one stage over three seconds off the pace in last, Martin would eventually end the session safely into the Q2 qualifying spots in seventh.

Explaining what went wrong, Martin blamed his lack of speed on the used medium tyres he ran at the end of FP1.

“Both, front and rear,” he started when asked about his tyre issues. “I don’t know if it’s because I put them on in the morning, because I wanted to understand [them] a bit for tomorrow’s qualifying.

“But I had two laps [on them]. So, it’s strange that in the evening it wasn’t working. I mean, I was four seconds, or three seconds from the first one. So, something was wrong for sure.

“The last two runs, I was fast again. For sure coming from 1m56s to 1m53s is quite complicated, because I had no reference, I had no lines.nSo, it was really mental to understand really fast in two laps how to get to the limit… I wasn’t on the limit because I was in sixth or seventh, but quite close.

“I think this gives me confidence and I feel I did it in a really mature way, to not make any mistakes in this situation and do a fast lap.”

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Martin added that he basically “lost” all of his set-up time for Saturday’s sprint race and will be relying on the data from his seven other Ducati counterparts for help on tyre information.

“I lost all the practice,” he said. “For sure, we don’t have a lot of information for tomorrow. At some point I tried the hard rear it was working more or less better than the used medium.

“So, maybe it’s an option. I don’t know. Having the Ducati information will help me a lot for tomorrow, because I think all of the riders tried different tyres.

“So, let’s try to understand and see what we can put tomorrow in the speed.”

When asked if it was harder to stay calm during his second practice issues because of the nature of the championship, Martin replied: “I don’t think so. I think it’s because I was that slow that it was difficult to be calm.

“At some point, I said to [crew chief Daniele] Romagnoli that ‘I won’t go on the track until you put on a new tyre because it’s useless, I’m going to crash, I’m going to get injured. So, it’s useless to be riding in 1m56s, so whenever you want to try the time attack I will go out there and do my thing’.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Bagnaia ended Friday 0.007s behind Martin in eighth on the timesheets and was happy with the feeling of his factory Ducati.

The Italian says he has previously faced similar tyre issues to that which Martin experienced on Friday in Qatar, and doesn’t think it will hold his rival back.

“It happened to me too, the last time I think in Thailand, that the first tyre I put on didn't work at all,” Bagnaia said. “It can happen, but you have to work knowing that you can always find a solution to everything.

“I don't think it's a problem for him, because in the end he did a good lap with the second tyre.

“It is definitely not as explosive as other times, but he is in Q2 and that is the main objective for everyone.”

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