MotoGP: Marc Marquez Steps It Up Again

Paul Carruthers | February 5, 2014

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez again ended the day as the fastest of the MotoGP men at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, the World Champion stepping up the pace on day two to be the only rider to record a sub-two-minute lap time with his 1:59.926 coming on his 38th of 65 laps.

“We continued with our work schedule today, with a focus on trying out parts,” Marquez said. “We carried out various tests, including a chassis comparison, and found some positive points and some negative. As for the setup, we have improved stability under braking, which is something that I have been finding a little difficult, but in the end we have found a good compromise. I hope that tomorrow we can continue in the same way, because we are consistent and fast -which is important.”

To make matters even rosier for the factory Honda team, Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa ended up second fastest with his 2:00.336 which came early in the day – on his 12th of 62 laps. When he did that time, Pedrosa was at the top of the time sheets. And he would only be bumped down by Marquez as the pair continued to experiment with both the old and the new chassis.

“Today we’ve been trying out the new chassis and comparing it to the previous version, but tomorrow we shall continue working with both because it isn’t clear which is best,” Pedrosa said. “I felt good with both of them, but I have to put in more laps in order to be able to make a clear decision. We also tried out the new Bridgestone tires, using the soft tire today and leaving the hard compound for tomorrow. We have been going pretty well here, but the season takes place at many different tracks and you have to prepare for each one of them.”

Third fastest on day two was LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl with a 2:00.339 – just .003 of a second off Pedrosa’s best.

“Today I am very happy,” Bradl said. “It’s good to be back up in the pack with Marc [Marquez] and Dani [Pedrosa]. We improved our lap time of one second and, thanks to adjustments in the front, I gain more confidence under braking. We knew that our potential on this bike was higher and today we have been consistent and fast. I hope that we can continue in the same way tomorrow. We plan to work on race distance to finish this three-day test session with a good base for the future.”

Valentino Rossi was another to improve his lap time from Tuesday and he continued as the top Yamaha man on day two. With his 2:00.464, Rossi was just .125 of a second from Pedrosa, but .538 of a second behind Marquez.

“Today is another positive day, we worked a lot and I rode 60 laps,” Rossi said. “We tried a lot of things including new tires and old tires, to try to make a comparison. We worked on the settings of the bike and tried some other stuff; some things were good and some did not work as we expected. Anyway I’m happy because I improved my lap time from yesterday and I’m in fourth position and not far from the front. It was a tough second day after yesterday. Our work is in progress, we took some good data and tomorrow we have to do something else.”

The surprise of the test thus far is the performance of NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro and his new Yamaha-powered mount. The elder of the two Spanish brothers, who are now both racing in MotoGP, ended up fifth fastest with a best of 2:00.547 – and ahead of factory Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo.

Lorenzo ended up sixth, but was surprisingly positive about it all.

“So today, apart from the position which is not ideal, I think we made one step forward,” Lorenzo said in a team release. “Changing something in the electronics we improved the behavior of the bike in the corners and it is now more like last year. I can keep a more constant pace and be a little faster for one lap. We need to keep working as our rivals are strong at this moment, but today I’m more happy than yesterday.”

Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith improved both his lap times and his position on day two, the young Brit jumping up to seventh with a 2:00.603 to move ahead of Pramac Racing Ducati’s Andrea Iannone – the Italian continuing to best the two factory Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, the pair ending up 11th and 12th respectively.

Go & Fun Honda’s Alvaro Bautista and Smith’s Tech 3 teammate Pol Espargaro completed the top 10.

Americans Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards were 14th and 15th, respectively, with Hayden the best of those using the new Honda production racer.

MotoGP Test Day Two Results

Sepang, Malaysia, February 4, 2014

1.              Marc Marquez (Honda) 1:59.926

2.              Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:00.336

3.              Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2:00.339

4.              Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2:00.464

5.              Aleix Espargaro (NGM Yamaha) 2:00.547

6.              Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2:00.573

7.              Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2:00.603

8.              Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2:00.855

9.              Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2:00.897

10.           Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 2:01.061

14. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 2:02.287
15. Colin Edwards (NGM Yamaha) 2:02.545

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America’s Daily Motorcycle News Source.