Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has denied 'playing games' during pre-season testing at Phillip Island this week.

Fastest on day one, the Repsol Honda star took the new 'big bang'-style engine to second behind Maverick Vinales on the Thursday timesheets.

As at the opening test in Sepang, Marquez again showed incredible consistency, including a pair of consecutive half-race simulations.

The Spaniard continues to insist there is 'something missing' with his 2017 package, but rivals such as Valentino Rossi are sure Marquez is the man to beat for race pace.

"I don't play games, because if I'm ready [to race] I would not make 107 laps today! Because my hands are destroyed," Marquez said. "We are working hard to try and find these small things. We are very consistent. This is true. But today Maverick was the fastest one. Not only one lap; also his pace was really good."

Although Vinales did not do a long run to directly compare with Marquez, the new Yamaha signing was the only rider to break the 1m 29s barrier - and did so on five occasions.

But what exactly is Marquez still looking for?

"I'm very consistent, I'm quite fast but still there is something I don't understand. It's true! I feel not so good with the bike, but then I pass the finish line and - bam - I see the lap time. And yeah, it's coming.

"I'm riding fast and pushing myself, but still on the bike we are missing something."

Yesterday, the #93 explained that the connection between the throttle, engine and rear tyre is the main issue, something he believes is related to the electronics.

Marquez's MotoGP seasons to date have been very different - a tense title showdown in his rookie year, followed by record dominance in year two, mistakes and defeat in year three and then a return to glory in year four.

What sort of season will 2017 be?

"Always I say it depends on the tools you have, if you have a good tool you can attack from the beginning," Marquez replied. "If you don't feel comfortable, you need to wait a little bit, but we will see.

"Every year is different - rain conditions, mixed conditions - a championship is really long and we are only at the second test of the pre-season."

Unfortunately for Marquez, his search for the missing pieces to the RCV puzzle have been complicated by the absence of crew chief Santi Hernandez, who is back in Europe due to sickness.

"When the [whole team] are here, everything seems natural, no? But when somebody is missing you really know this person is important! Santi is at home now, I think, from the hospital. But he is always in contact - I don't think he is sleeping a lot at night! But we have a really good group and also the HRC staff are helping me. We are trying to manage well."

Hernandez is not the only Repsol Honda team member suffering ill health, with Marquez's team-mate Dani Pedrosa sitting out much of Thursday due to a fever and throat infection.

The Phillip Island test concludes on Friday evening.

By Peter McLaren


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How preposterous for vr to suggest mm is spending his preseason testing playing games rather than sorting out the new bike for the season ahead! One of vr's most obvious mind games.