Marc Marquez upgraded expectations ahead of his rookie MotoGP
season even further with a clean sweep of the Austin test.
The reigning Moto2 champion, replacing the retired Casey Stoner
at Repsol Honda, has long been tipped as having a real chance of joining Max Biaggi (1998) and Jarno Saarinen (1973) in winning on his premier-class debut.
But regardless of what happens under the lights in Qatar on April 7, Marquez will arguably go into round two at Austin as the man to beat, having led all three days of this week's private Honda and Yamaha test at the Texan circuit.
Only five full-time riders attended MotoGP's unofficial COTA debut, but they included the cream of the current crop - reigning double champion Jorge Lorenzo, seven time title winner Valentino Rossi
and triple title runner-up Dani Pedrosa.
Yamaha riders Lorenzo and Rossi skipped the final day, when Marquez improved his pace to pull 0.617s clear of Repsol Honda team-mate Pedrosa. Prior to this week's test, Pedrosa - hampered by a neck strain on Thusday - had always been quicker than Marquez during each day both were on track.
"This final day has been good for me," said Marquez. "From the beginning I had the same feeling as yesterday and especially this morning we started to try some technical settings for the first time and we found some big improvements.
"After lunch we were considering a race simulation but in the end we spent the time working with the electronics. It's been important to come and test here as we will be here for the second race. It's quite a physical track - especially the first sector - but in the end, we now know the track a little and we have a good base for when we come here for the GP."
Marquez will now re-join the full 2013 rider line-up at the third and final official test, to be held at Jerez
from March 23-25.