Honda MotoGP bike out of control in qualifying.

The works Honda rider hasn’t managed to fight his way past 17th on the grid in seven rounds so far this season but has proven he has strong race pace with four points.

His race pace in Saturday’s FP4 – in which he finished seventh – was comparable to that of Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci and KTM’s Brad Binder around him. But once again, in qualifying on fresh, soft rubber, Marquez tumbled down the order with his best time of 1m31.198s, just over 1.1s off Maverick Vinales’ pole time.

“We’re able to manage the rhythm well and keep it really well, but we can’t go up a second like the others with the new soft tire and be a little bit quicker in qualifying,” explained Marquez. “We’ve been missing that since Jerez. We’ve improved it a bit, but everyone’s improving on that step too, and everyone’s getting faster and faster. So that’s what we’re missing.

“I’m feeling alright on the bike but just as we put the new tire on everything gets out of hand, the bike changes a bit and on new tires it’s a bit more radical.”

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Marquez explained how the Honda behaves in a time attack, adding: “Yes, the movement is more radical, everything shakes more. So I try to control it or get used to it. But it’s still difficult for me when I put the new tire on.

“Honestly I felt a lot better in FP4 with the middle rear tire than in qualifying with the soft one. So I need that feeling where maybe I need to close my eyes a bit and push harder. But I don’t feel like that at the moment.”

Saturday at Misano proved tough for the only other Honda rider in LCR, Takaaki Nakagami, who crashed in FP4 and qualifying at Turn 15 to finish 12th on the grid.

He says his qualifying crash was the result of a “miscommunication” within the team regarding front tires that sent Nakagami onto a hard tire – which he crashed on in FP4 – rather than a medium tire.

“After the crash [in FP4]I jumped on the second bike which doesn’t have the best setup but we kept it to prepare for qualifying,” he said. “And in qualifying I crashed again in the same place, exactly the way I crashed [before], because I lack communication within the team and they made a tough front again and I crashed.

“The plan was middle front and soft back, but there are some misunderstandings within the team. It was the hard front and I crashed because the temperature on the left side is very low.”