MotoGP rookie Marc Marquez...
MotoGP rookie Marc Marquez has already impressed in testing, running close to the lap record at Sepang in only his first uninterrupted day of testing.
There is a lot of hype surrounding reigning Moto2 champion Marc Marquez as he makes the transition to MotoGP during winter testing aboard the factory Repsol Honda RC213V—but if his lap times during his first full day of dry testing (his team’s previous two tries were interrupted by rain) at Sepang today were any indication, the Spaniard will be justifying it when the 2013 season begins. Despite still getting accustomed to the larger and faster MotoGP bike and conditions that would normally not be conducive to quick lap times during Honda’s private test session at the Sepang circuit, Marquez was able to turn a best lap of 2:01.355, which is a tad more than a second off the outright lap record of 2:00.334 set by Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo during qualifying for this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix. Not only did Marquez go impressively quick for a MotoGP rookie, but he was also quicker than Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who was also present at the test.
“Today we finally had dry conditions for the whole day!” enthused Marquez after his extended time with the RC213V at the Sepang test. “In the morning the track was a little wet still from yesterday, but it dried up pretty quickly and we were able to go out on track at around 11:30 am and make use of the entire day. In the first exit we improved our time from yesterday which is definitely a positive. Then we tried some new set ups and I started to understand the bike better and my confidence began to grow. I also tried the 2013 prototype today which felt good, but it's more important that I take my time to learn the MotoGP bike and adapt my riding style to suit these bigger machines. It's been a great day and I hope the weather remains dry for tomorrow so we can cover more laps and continue to learn.”
Granted, Bautista wasn't concerned with Marquez as he was busy testing new Showa suspension parts at the behest of HRC in a bid to close the gap to class standard Öhlins (which are used on the Repsol Honda team bikes). Unfortunately, the satellite Honda rider wasn’t overly impressed with the new Showa parts at Sepang. “We tested different suspensions but we didn’t find any better settings than yesterday. This is not easy, as I’m here to try and improve the Showa suspension by request from HRC, but after two busy days of work we didn’t find big improvements, so we have to talk to HRC and take a decision together.”