Marquez plays down podium hopes

Autosport

Marc Marquez has played down his chances of scoring a podium on his MotoGP race debut this year.

Both Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa managed debut rostrums after winning the 250cc World Championship - Moto2's predecessor - in 2007 and 2005 respectively.

Marquez dominated Moto2 in 2012, winning nine times and pulling off a number of remarkable rides, notably winning from the back of the grid at the Valencia season finale.

He also impressed in his initial MotoGP tests, lapping just over a second off the 2012 pole time at Sepang.

While he admitted he had adapted to Honda's MotoGP machinery faster than anticipated, the 19-year-old Spaniard stressed that breaking into the top three from the outset was unlikely, particularly as Honda wants him to ease into competition in the premier class.

"Right now I don't think it's doable, Marquez told AS when asked about his podium chances for the Qatar opener.

"I'm not ruling out anything - it's impossible to predict - but Honda has told me to be calm.

"What they want to see is progress, and me taking my time and improving.

"Testing has been better than I imagined. In Malaysia when I got there I thought it would be three tough days, but I started gaining confidence with the bike and began to try new things.

"I still have a long way to go though and I'm hoping to take full advantage of the remaining tests."

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