Marc Marquez took Honda's new 'big bang'-style engine to the top of the MotoGP timesheets during the opening day of testing at Phillip Island.

It was the first time in 2017 that the reigning world champion had set the pace at the end of a day's testing, having made notable progress with adapting the unified electronics to the new engine last time at Sepang.

But the Spaniard had more such work to undertake in Australia, costing him early track time, before taking over at the head of the timesheets by 2pm. Later pulling 0.5s clear of the field, a last gasp lap by Yamaha's Valentino Rossi cut the Repsol rider's final advantage back to 0.186s.

"We needed a lot of time to re-adjust all the electronics to this new configuration of engine," Marquez explained. "So we lost a lot of time this morning and it is something we need to pay attention to because we don't have this much time on a race weekend. But of course everything is new at the moment.

"Still for me we are missing something, in the electronic side. It feels like the electronics are on one side and the engine on another side. They are not working together. It is difficult to understand, but they need to fix.

"But at this circuit we don't have our weak point, which is acceleration. Already last year we were fast here and again this year, but still we must work because we are not comfortable in some areas."

Denying that the new engine is too aggressive, Marquez revealed that the 'comfort' issue is down to the way the bike responds to throttle inputs: "The engine is smooth. The power is normal, not very powerful. But with the electronics - the connection with the gas, the engine and rear wheel - still I don't feel comfortable."

The Spanish star conceded that part of the issue may simply be that he has always ridden with an even-firing 'screamer' engine.

"Maybe it's because we were using one type of engine for many, many years and I was riding in one way, and now with this one you need to change a little bit," he said.

"In the end your riding style is the same, because this is something that is so difficult to change. But you need to understand how is this engine, because the noise is different, then you feel that you are riding slow... but you need to be patient.

"It's many different things, more than changing the riding style it's understanding how to ride the bike.

"But still the connection with the gas and everything - we are working hard to try and understand better. The strange thing is that the lap time is coming! But still I think we can improve. Maybe not the lap time, but to be more comfortable."

Marquez added that the issues occur at every type of corner, boosting his confidence that a solution can be found.

"Also in Malaysia we had this problem. It's everywhere. Always the same character. I think this is positive, because if you have one problem in one problem, another problem in another corner, then you can be confused.

"The good thing is that in all corners we have the same problems. So I know we must be patient, because many things are new and they need time. So for that reason I'm just riding and trying to give all the information.

"The important is to arrive at 100% for the race in Qatar."

Five more days of testing, including two at Phillip Island, plus three nights of practice in Qatar stand between Marquez and the opening race.

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa was seventh fastest on Wednesday,0.784s from the #93.

By Peter McLaren


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