Photography Courtesy of Repsol Honda
SEPANG, MALAYSIA, FEB 7 - Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa completed the hat trick by finishing at the top of the time charts for all three days of the first test of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship season at the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia.
The margin to the next fastest rider - Yamaha Jorge Lorenzo - was narrow the first two days, but today Pedrosa upped the pace and ended his test at lunch with a gap of .329 of a second on the reigning world champion. Yamaha's Valentino Rossi was third, dropping under the 2:01 barrier and moving impressive MotoGP rookie Marc Marquez down to fourth. Those three riders were covered by little more than .2 of a second.
Pedrosa's best lap of 2:001.00 came on the fourth of his 44 laps as he worked on a variety of issues including weight distribution, weight balance, tires, and engine braking. With Marquez new to the class, Pedrosa assumed the bulk of the development work and seemed to relish it. For much of the past two years he'd been overshadowed by Casey Stoner, the 2011 MotoGP World Champion. But Pedrosa came into his own last year, winning more races than ever in a single season and making a serious challenge for the title. The Malaysian Grand Prix was one of Pedrosa's season best seven wins, to go with eight other podium finishes.
"Yeah, I'm satisfied, because from the first day we came here the progress it's been good," Pedrosa began, "especially with the weight and, yeah, and the hardware."
Pedrosa said he could have continued testing past his midday stoppage point, but that it was better to stop.
"Yeah, of course, if I go into...I have a list super-long," he said. "But, you know, is the third day, so it's the first test. It's better to stop. It's not worth it really to continue if you are more tired. I finished my program in this test, which was to test mainly big things. So now I can go onto the second test for more little things."
The shopping list for the next test, on February 26-28, are "shocks, front fork, and some mapping things. Maybe some different clutch for the feeling, because last year we had problems."
As for this being the first time he'd ever led all three days of a MotoGP test, Pedrosa was nonplussed.
"I don't know," he said. Was he more confident than ever. "Yeah, I mean I feel confident not just because of the position, but the feeling, you know.
"If you look at the past, I never really cared so much about the lap times in the winter," he said. "Which I care most is the lap times in the GP. When my program is finished, I'm finished."