Marquez Paces Valencia Testing
VALENCIA, Spain – On a busy day at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo 20 riders took to the track on the second day of 2014 MotoGP testing, with new World Champion Marc Marquez ending the session as the fastest rider.
The Repsol Honda team opted not to test on Monday, but Marquez and Dani Pedrosa both had full days on Tuesday comparing the new 2014 Honda with their existing machines and completing nearly 150 laps between them.
Marquez topped the time sheet for almost the entirety of the seven hour practice, notching an early fast time and reducing it to 1:30.536 late in the afternoon on his 75th and penultimate lap. The youngest ever premier class title winner survived a remarkable moment early in the afternoon saving a crash with his left elbow and knee on turn six.
Monday’s fastest rider Jorge Lorenzo improved significantly on his best time from yesterday (1:31.257) to register a 1:30.768 fastest effort, with Tuesday’s top times comparing favourably to Sunday’s best race lap – Pedrosa’s 1:31.628.
Pedrosa was third best overall, with his best time coming in at .4 of a second off his young teammate’s pace setting marker. The top three riders all registered their sharpest times on the 2014 versions of their respective machines.
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl (+0.454) and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista (+0.672) ensured there were four Hondas in the top five at the conclusion of the day’s activity.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith had a solid end to the 2013 season and he was the second fastest Yamaha rider today, testing a 2014 M1 chassis with a 2013 engine and finishing 0.861s off Marquez. His team boss Herve Poncharal says his target in the coming year will be to match his departing colleague Cal Crutchlow’s 2013 form.
Factory Yamaha Racing’s Valentino Rossi will look to improve things working with new Crew Chief Silvano Galbusera as winter testing continues, having ended the day seventh, 0.878s below the pace, not improving on his Monday time.
The fastest Ducati rider on track was Andrea Dovizioso in eighth place, over a second off P1 with his new teammate Crutchlow in 11th, a further 0.3s behind – Dovizioso improving his Monday best, whilst Crutchlow was a fraction slower than yesterday.
The Ducati Team will introduce their 2014 machines at Sepang in February. The performance of the new bike will also be of interest to Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone who was tenth best on Tuesday overall.
Moto2 champion Pol Espargaro brings talent and enthusiasm to the Tech 3 project. He was delighted to try the YZR-M1 on Monday and on Tuesday he got more accustomed to the bike, improving his pace by 1.351s and getting 66 more laps under his belt.
Further down the timesheet in 13th was Nicky Hayden, riding for the first time with his new team Power Electronics Aspar on the RCV1000R, lapping 2.04s off P1 pace, but 0.444s quicker than new colleague Hiroshi Aoyama went yesterday.
Aleix Espargaro (15th) worked with his new team NGM Mobile Forward Racing and new teammate Colin Edwards (17th), as they both lapped just over two seconds off Marquez’ pace, a decent effort for their first day on the new Yamaha FTR package.
Scott Redding’s left wrist is still healing from his devastating Australia crash and he also took heavy knocks in the pile-up in Japan, so he was only able to lap 22 times on the GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R.
An additional novelty was Randy de Puniet on the PBM ART machine, also lapping 22 times towards the bottom of the timesheet, in a guest appearance for the British based outfit as they look to complete their plans for 2014.