19 February 2016
Phillip Island MotoGP Test: Marquez: Lost and found?
“At Sepang honestly we were lost. We don't know the direction; we don't know anything. But here we start to work well” – Marc Marquez.
Double MotoGP champion Marc Marquez admits leaving the opening MotoGP test at Sepang 'lost' in terms of development for the RC213V.
But the Spaniard and his Repsol Honda team were able to get back on top, figuratively and literally, during this week's penultimate Phillip Island test.
After leading Friday's final day in Australia, the 23-year-old Spaniard declared:
“At Sepang honestly we were lost. We don't know the direction; we don't know anything. But here we start to work well. Honda did a good job with the electronic - we have some base.
“Today was the first time that I feel consistent and able to try the small things, because sometimes when you are lost - when you in a place where you don't understand the things - it is difficult to try different set-ups and everything because it is difficult to feel.
“But today I start to feel good on the bike and looks like we are improving. But at the same time I want to take care because this circuit is special. I think in Qatar we will struggle slightly more, because there are many corners where the bike must turn [well] and that is where we are struggling more.
“Today we did a step and looks like we are coming better and better. I expect in Qatar we will not be the fastest guy, but we will try to be competitive.”
One of the RCV's biggest issues has been aggressive acceleration, an area where Marquez was especially reluctant to draw conclusions.
“Here the acceleration is not the important thing because you go out from corners in third or fourth gear. The corners where we are struggling are first and second gear. We must wait until Qatar and work there,” he said.
Another area to be worked on is finding the kind of explosive qualifying speed his has been famous for since joining the premier-class in 2013.
“For some reason this year I cannot take the real potential from the new tyres,” he said. “The most important thing is that the rhythm is really good, which for the race is important. But looks like, for example one of my strongest points with the Bridgestone was the hot lap in qualifying, and here with the Michelin I'm struggling there at the moment.”
Marquez topped the Friday times, also putting him a close second overall to surprise Suzuki pace setter Maverick Vinales, despite being among eleven riders to fall during day three.
“We were just in the last part of the day and we thought we'd go out to try some things. The first lap I checked the track, second lap I start to push and it was really critical: I used a little more banking on Turn 9 and I lost the front really slowly. I tried to save, save, save but then I arrive in the gravel and crash.
“The important thing is that today I started to feel the bike, but we are still struggling with the front tyre. I crashed, Tito crashed. Many riders I think are a struggling on this point. But the positive point is that Michelin is working and for Qatar test I don't know, but for the first race there will be different tyres so this will be good.”
The #93 had earlier saved another massive moment on his elbow, when caught out by the rain.
“The problem is that when it started to rain. I saw a couple of light spots but I thought 'ok I finish this lap'. But when I go into Turn 8 it was more wet for some reason, I lost the front and for three-seconds the steering was completely closed and I was there with the elbow like Brno 2013.”
Marque also confirmed that with Honda focussed on solving its long-running engine and now ECU issues, he is likely to race with his existing (2014) chassis during round one in Qatar. Unlike engine design, the chassis can be ungraded at any time during the season.
Team-mate Dani Pedrosa was seventh fastest on the final day, when Marquez set seven of the top 15 lap times.
The final pre-season test takes place at Losail from March 2-4.
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