Repsol Honda’s Marc Márquez continued to set the pace on the second day of this week’s private MotoGP test at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday. The 2013 MotoGP rookie again led Repsol teammate Dani Pedrosa as the seven riders taking part in the test remained in the same order as on Tuesday.
Having completed its test schedule, the factory Yamaha of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi packed up and headed home. Honda will stay on for one more day of testing today.
Márquez clocked 54 laps, the 20 year old shaving less time off his personal best effort than any of the other six riders, but still leading Pedrosa by just over a tenth of a second with his 2:03.853. The result is likely to come as a huge confidence booster for the non-defending Moto2 World Champion.
“Today we continued along the same line as yesterday,” Marquez said. “We tried to find the best gearbox, the best electronic settings and the best geometry on this track. Especially in the beginning the track was quite slippery. I didn’t expect that, as I thought that after yesterday the grip would be better, but then lap by lap it was better and for this afternoon I think it will be good.
“To be consistent is very difficult because it has many hard braking points and it’s tough to stay concentrated and always brake at the same point. When we are on the track and ride with the other riders, like Stefan [Bradl], Valentino [Rossi], [Jorge] Lorenzo and Dani [Pedrosa], you need to pay attention. You can’t show what is your line, what it the best line, because then they can learn something. But also when I try to follow them they close… so I do the same thing.”
After topping five of the six pre-season testing days in Malaysia, Pedrosa was forced to take a backseat to his young teammate – at least in the first two days at CoTA.
Yamaha’s plans were more condensed, with Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi now leaving after two days of circuit adaptation and setup work. The latter – trying out a new asymmetric rear tire – was over half a second slower than his teammate, whereas the reigning World Champion was highly pleased that his team had made the effort to travel to America and attend the Honda-organized gathering. He also attempted a long run of 13 laps in race trim, after which he was pleased with his consistency. However both Yamaha riders have admitted concerns that the Repsol bikes are quicker at this point.
Both Lorenzo and Rossi improved over the course of the second day, cutting back their personal best lap times while continuing to search for more grip.
"I feel better today," Lorenzo said. "In the last run before the lunch break, we changed the setup of the bike and improved by some tenths, so we are closer to the fastest riders, but not as much as we would like. We were too soft on the suspension to start with, but we made it harder and at this track that works…we have been trying different setups - no new parts, just playing with the setup and changing the suspension and forks - and on the last run I improved by half a second [just] with setup changes."
Rossi echoed the sentiments of his teammate.
"Step-by-step we improved a lot from yesterday, but have some disadvantages compared to the other guys, so we need to put all the sections together," Rossi admitted. "The target was to come here and try to understand the track and try to be ready for the race. Our competitors are able to accelerate faster than us from the hairpin and they have a bit more grip on the edge compared to us, so these are the areas where we have to work."
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl split the Yamahas and was just three tenths down on Lorenzo.
Attack Performance’s Blake Young and GPTech’s Michael Barnes ended the day just over three tenths of a second apart. Both men will contest the three American rounds on their CRT machines this year.
With Yamaha now departing to return to base in Europe, the remaining five riders stay in Texas today for a final day of testing. The last official MotoGP test will take place in Jerez, Spain, starting next Saturday.
Day 2 Results
1. Marc Márquez (Honda) 2:03.853
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:03.976
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2:04.351
4. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2:04.640
5. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2:04.960
6. Blake Young (Attack/CRT) 2:13.641
7. Michael Barnes (GPTech/CRT) 2:13.993