6 February 2015
Sepang MotoGP Test: Marquez: I had to pull in and cool down!
Marc Marquez becomes first rider ever to dip into 1m 58 bracket at Sepang as MotoGP world champion ends first Sepang test in number one spot
Marc Marquez said he 'stopped in the box to cool down' after setting the fastest ever lap witnessed at Sepang on the final day of the first MotoGP test in Malaysia.
The Repsol Honda star became the first rider to dip into the 1m 58s bracket with a lap of 1m 58.867s to end the shakedown on top of the time sheets by 0.139s from team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
The back-to-back premier class world champion then pulled in, joking that after such a searing lap a crash would be inevitable.
“The feeling was great and I didn't expect, especially after the first day, this lap time because the track looks bumpier than last year,” Marquez said. “But this morning on the third run I saw that it was a bit cloudy, the temperature was perfect, it never rained during these three days. This helps a lot. The track was faster than usual and for that reason came this lap time.
“Even so, when I saw '58 I was really happy. But then I stopped in the box to cool down because I was thinking 'after '58 comes a crash!' Then we continued working like usual.
“I am also very happy with the race simulation, because we understand many things with the new bike. During the race simulation I tried many different options on the electronics, in the front also we tried different things but we saw it was better what we had. So I'm happy and looking forward to improving some things at the second test.”
Pedrosa's race simulation was slightly faster than Marquez's long run, but making a comparison between the overall times was futile according to Marquez, who points out that they we completed at different times and in different temperatures in the afternoon.
“It's different to compare the race simulation, because he did at 1pm I did at 2.30pm,” he said. “So the temperature is not the same. But Dani was fast in the race simulation – looks like he was the fastest and the most competitive.
“But I'm happy. Still we need to improve maybe the second part of the race simulation, or maybe the mid-part. Because in the beginning I was strong, the end I was strong, but the middle part I struggled more.”
For Marquez, the main area of progress with the 'compromise' Honda is improved feeling with the front, although a lack of edge grip from the rear on corner exit remains an issue that Honda will work devote more attention to at the next Sepang test later this month.
“Compared to the 2014 bike where we improve is the front feeling, the entry of the corner and mid-corner. But we lose a little bit mid-exit corner with gas and for next test we have solutions about that because still 2014 bike was different in that aspect and if we improve a bit in that point we can be really competitive,” said Marquez.
“During this test we concentrated more on the entry of the corner and mid-corner which is where we had most problems with the prototype in Valencia.
“On that point I'm really happy because I feel really good, but we forgot a little bit to work on corner exit because we know at the next test we will have some things to try there. At the moment where I'm struggling more is edge grip and traction area. But we will have some items to try at the next test.”
Marquez has labelled the new Honda engine as more aggressive than last year's motor, but says there is more untapped potential to be gained once the 'character' of the engine is enhanced.
“If we improve the character of the engine will help a lot. Today I tried the 2014 bike in one run and the lap time was the same. That means we can improve,” he said.
“With [the] 2014 bike I already feel really good, because [I had] one year with this bike. With 2015 still we have some points that we can improve. The most important is that we have options to improve this feeling.”
Marquez tested three Hondas in total at Sepang but concentrated most on the 'compromise' RC213V, which is a blend of his 2014 machine and the 2015 version he first tested at Valencia in November.
“I started with four bikes but I only tried three. The fourth bike I forget and just I tried three different bikes on the first day, but I concentrated all of yesterday and today with the new bike,” he said.
“I forget also about the Valencia  bike and just concentrate on the newest bike. The 2014 I tried again today to reconfirm but also I must forget [this bike] because I will use the new one [this season]. So I will concentrate on this bike and we still have some things to try to improve.”
Marquez injured himself in a dirt bike training accident before the start of the 2014 season but this year he has undertaken the same winter preparations, albeit cutting his time on the bike in January to reduce the risk of an injury impacting on the start of the season.
“Honestly compared to last year I didn't change many things, because last year I felt fit and well. Just what I did was this winter more bike in December and less bike in January basically because of the risk, because last year I lost [most] of the pre-season [due to a training injury],” Marquez said.
“From now until Sepang two I will do minimum one day of bike and I'll continue with my same preparation.”
Marquez Race Simulation lap times:
Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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