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.
“So, 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.
“So, 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.”
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…