4 February 2015
Sepang MotoGP Test: Marquez chooses ‘compromise’ Honda
"But in the end I chose the new bike - the compromise between last year and the Valencia bike" - Marc Marquez.
Double MotoGP champion Marc Marquez tried three different versions of the RC213V on his way to snatching the top spot from Valentino Rossi on the opening day of 2015 testing at Sepang.
The Repsol Honda star had requested changes to the 2015 Honda after trying the bike at November's Valencia test. HRC duly brought two versions of the 2015 machine for Marquez and Dani Pedrosa to evaluate at Sepang, as well as last year's bike.
“Today we tested three bikes,” Marquez confirmed. “One was last year's bike, the other was the Valencia  bike and the third was a new bike, a compromise between the Valencia bike and last year's bike.
“After the holidays, trying three different bikes was hard. But in the end I chose the new bike - the compromise between last year and the Valencia bike.
“I feel good. Still we need to improve many, many things and we have many items to try. So we will concentrate. But the target today was to choose the bike to work with for the next two days.”
Asked why he preferred that bike, Marquez explained: “With the Valencia bike I liked the front confidence, but we lost a lot in the brake point. So I asked Honda to keep the same brake point as with last year's bike.
“They did a really good job because [with the new bike] the brake point feels exactly the same. Of course immediately we lost a little bit this front confidence, but it is still more than last year's bike. That is good. We went from one side [2014 bike] to the other side [Valencia bike] and now we have a compromise.”
Marquez set the pace with a time of 2m 0.262s on his penultimate lap, which propelled him from fifth to first. “In the end I decided to put a new tyre to try to understand where I am, with the new tyres and the best compromise [bike]. And I saw that we are ok,” he said.
The 21-year-old finished the day just 0.118s ahead of Rossi, who had led from midday onwards, and 0.259s in front of the other Factory M1 of Jorge Lorenzo.
“Already in the second part of last season Yamaha was really strong, so here they are strong,” Marquez said. “But it is nice for the championship, no? Two manufacturers fighting for the title. It will be nice but still it is only the first day of pre-season and things can change a lot.
“Also Ducati are fast with the old bike here, Dovizioso and Iannone, but the first day is always a question mark.”
Double world champion Casey Stoner had taken part in a private Honda test at Sepang just a few days earlier. Had it helped?
“Of course it is important for Honda and for us to have this 'third rider' let's say. Casey tried many, many things but now more or less I have reconfirmed things, because I'm trying everything as well. But the comments are really similar.
“Today I didn't check [Stoner's data]. I was just comparing my riding style with each bike. I didn't even compare with Dani. Just concentrated on my work.”
And Stoner's lap time at the test? “I don't know... [Laughs]”
Marquez's team-mate Dani Pedrosa also had three different bikes to try but had not decided which to use. Pedrosa was fifth fastest, 0.483s from Marquez.
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