That would equal the Spaniard’s longest rostrum drought in the premier class, which followed his return from arm injuries at the start of the 2021 season.
“It’s [getting] easier and easier to admit [that we don’t have podium pace]”Marquez insisted, after qualifying in tenth place at Le Mans.
“In the beginning it’s harder and you do not want to admit it. But in the end, you need to admit it.
“Because if every time you try to be a bit faster, try to be a bit closer to the top guys, you crash or make some mistakes, you struggle even more because you are over-riding.
“Today we can finish 5th, 6th, 7th in a good race. If the race is not so good, if you do not start well, we can finish 9th or 10th and it will not be a surprise for us.
“It’s true that it’s not the position I like to be, but now it’s the time to work.
“It seems like since we arrived in Europe, with short, small and narrow tracks, we are struggling a bit more.
“You need to turn in a short time, and use the acceleration a lot,” added the eight time world champion. “For example we were fast in Qatar, in Mandalika, in Malaysia, but you can use a lot of the track to turn.
“But here, we need to brake hard and turn in a short time, and that’s where we are struggling a bit more. I’m trying to understand how to do that. ”
Fourth quickest after a tow behind Fabio Quartararo in Saturday morning’s FP3, Marquez – like his fellow Honda riders – also found the RCV’s performance was depleted by the rising temperatures.
“This morning I had the speed,” Marquez said. “OK, I followed Fabio, but before I followed Fabio, riding alone I did that 1’31.9. The lap time was coming in an easier way, and I knew that the speed was there.
“But this afternoon, since I went out in FP4, the feeling was not good. I tried in the second run to ride alone, tried to find how to ride in those conditions, but even like this the feeling was not good and I crashed trying to understand where I can push more.
“Then in qualifying, I went out and again, the feeling was no good and I just did my maximum. With the second tire I put the soft front. It was a better feeling, but it was too soft.
“Anyway, we will see tomorrow. If it’s a bit cloudy, maybe we can have a better pace, but not the pace to win or fight for the podium. It’s a pace to fight for 5th, 6th, 7th position in the best case. ”
Anything better, Marquez believes, will depend on the arrival of rain.
“If I’m lucky, it will rain a bit and everything will be more open – for a [good] result or a crash, you never know! ” he said.
Remy Gardner: Snow, hail or tornado!
Marc Marquez was not the only rider believing bad weather could boost their chances in the race.
“Snow, hail… or if a tornado wants to rip up the track that’ll be good as well!” Remy Gardner joked after qualifying 22nd, as KTM’s tough weekend continued with all four orange machines outside the top 16.
“Hopefully we can capitalize on any strange weather as much as possible. I do not know if we’d be up there [in the wet]but hopefully we could at least be closer to the top 15.
“It also would not be a bad thing if it starts raining after two laps and we have a flag-to-flag because I’ve never done one yet! It’d be interesting to see how good I am at changing the bikes and stuff. ”
Pol Espargaro: At least Marc and I are suffering the same problems
Marquez’s Repsol Honda team-mate Pol Espargaro started the French weekend fastest in FP1, but will start the race just behind him in eleventh place.
“It’s like we arrive at a circuit and straight away on Friday, when everyone is still understanding the track and bike and before everyone starts to put their motorbikes on its limit, I’m one of the quickest,” Espargaro said.
“Then everyone starts to work, the bikes start to be faster, and you reach your limit. And it’s difficult to be faster. We do not improve and then in the afternoon, when it’s a little bit hotter, we decrease our speed. We lose.
“The Ducatis, it does not matter if it’s sunny, cold, they are fast all the time and also other manufacturers. But we struggle a little bit more with that [temperature rise] and it’s difficult.
“The good point is I’ve been complaining about it since the beginning of the year and now Marc is feeling it too,” Espargaro added.
“Marc did not complain so much about the rear grip in Jerez. When the track temperature grew he was not too bad. But today he felt it a lot. So it’s nice at least to be on the same feeling and suffering with the same problems.
“But we did not expect to be suffering so much. OK, I did not make my last lap because I found Johann in the middle [of the track]. But anyway, my lap would not be much faster than this morning, so it would be around Marc’s time. ”
Zarco was subsequently given a three-place grid penalty for ‘riding slowly and disturbing’ Espargaro, but it does not change the starting positions for either Repsol Honda rider.