Jorge Martin says he is “not so confident” that he can convert his fifth MotoGP pole into a win in Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix amid tyre wear worries.
The Pramac Ducati pilot flew to a second straight pole at the Losail International Circuit – having scored his first ever premier class pole at the venue a year ago – by 0.147s over Gresini’s Enea Bastianini, putting him in prime position to try and score his second MotoGP win.
The Spaniard admitted though post qualifying that he was “worried” about whether he could emulate his Saturday speed across a race distance, admitting that the 2022-spec engine he is running on his Desmosedici was making it hard to save tyres due to its more aggressive power delivery relative to the 2021 unit factory Ducati riders Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller elected to revert to ahead of this weekend.
“It’s been a nice qualy and I’m very happy with my performance, I wasn’t expecting to be that fast after FP4 but for sure I’m very satisfied with that,” explained Martin after scoring the fifth premier class pole of his career.
“I had a mistake on my first lap (on the first run) so I had to do my time on the second lap, and normally the tyre drops a little bit so I was expecting more from the second tyre, but also I had a tow from Pol Espargaro so I could make a really good lap time.
“I’m not so confident for tomorrow as I think we are still missing one or two tenths to fight for the victory, but I hope we will be one of the candidates to fight for victory and we can work hard tonight to find the small gain we need for tomorrow.
“We are ready to fight for the win but I’m always on the limit (to go that fast) we are struggling a bit with the new engine and it’s not that easy, last year wasn’t easier but we still don’t know that well how to manage the tyre and that’s why I’m a bit worried about the end of the race.”
Martin added that he was hopeful of finding “something” overnight to help fight for supremacy across the entirety of the 22 lap encounter, revealing that a late change back to his base set-up meant he hasn’t been able to complete a representative race simulation.
“For sure we’ll find something with my engineers, and we’ll be there fighting for the victory,” continued Martin.
“In FP3 and FP4 we focussed on working for the race and trying different set-ups, though I didn’t like the ones we had so we went back to the base set-up for qualifying but we didn’t get to do many laps so for sure we’ll be fast, but it’s difficult to be consistent.
“It’ll be tricky but my physical condition is good and I’ll try and manage at the beginning to have something left for the end, tyre choice will be crucial so hopefully we can choose the right one and be there tomorrow.”