When news filtered back to the Sepang paddock that Marc Marquez had fallen at Turn 3, the quickest corner on the circuit (pictured earlier in the day), there were concerns about his healing shoulder.

Fortunately, the reigning world champion escaped without any further damage, later explaining that he had been on an in-lap when the incident occurred.

"It looked big [because of where it happened] but it was a slow crash," Marquez said. "I was coming into the box and the day was already finished. I was off-line and not pushing.

"I was on the dirty part and I lost the front. Maybe it was because the strength [in the shoulder] and all these things, but fortunately it was slow. There was no big damage."

The Repsol Honda star finished day two of the Official test with 47 laps under his belt, the best of which was 0.525s from the Yamaha of pacesetter Fabio Quartararo.

"The shoulder is coming better. I started the day with a lot of energy, but then after two runs [the strength] starts to drop. That’s normal. The important thing is it isn’t worse than yesterday. And today I achieved our target. We did 47 laps."

Marquez explained that his main aims are to work on the engine, due to the design freeze from the season-opening Qatar round, and learn more about the new 2020-spec Michelin rear tyre.

"We are trying to work to understand firstly the tyres because they are changing a bit. We are also focussing on the engine side at this test because we know in one month in Qatar we cannot change it any more," he said.

"The main character [for the engine] is very similar from last year. It looks like we maybe have a bit more top speed, more acceleration. But at the moment we’re working a lot on the entry of the corner because last year we were struggling with a kind of pushing. We are working there.

"The grip of the track is so good. For that reason everyone is fast, the lap times are incredibly fast. Tomorrow will be faster. But it will also be interesting to understand in Qatar.

"It looks like this new Michelin rear tyre changes the balance of the bike and this changes also some parametres on the electronics.

"It has better grip and when you gain rear grip the balance can change: the electronics and also a little bit the riding style. Some bikes will adapt better, some worse..."

There are suggestions the added rear grip could reward the corner-speed characteristics of the inline four-cylinder bikes by Yamaha and Suzuki.

Marquez agreed that riders from those manufacturers are looking strong at Sepang, but isn't sure any particular manufacturer will have an advantage from the new tyre.

"At the moment it looks like the Yamaha riders – Quartararo and Viñales – and the Suzuki riders – both Mir and Rins – are the strongest ones," he said.

"Now it’s one riding style. But at the race weekend it’s completely different and now we have the rubber on the track that it’s impossible to get during a [normal] weekend."

Explaining further, the #93 said that the flowing lines taken by the Yamaha and Suzuki on their hot laps are not always possible for an entire race.

"Riding alone and especially for one lap they are incredibly fast," he said. "But then race distance we need to ride more like a ‘V’ in the corners: go in, stop and pick up.

"We will see in the first races. Last year at some circuits they were riding incredibly fast. But in some circuits the character of the Honda engine was stronger. It depends on the character or the layout of the track.

"At the moment we’re struggling in some points. One of these problems is created by more grip on the rear. We must understand how to improve.

"It’s true if you use more the 'normal' track [cornering lines], if you have more grip you have more advantage. But I believe all manufacturers will have an advantage. The key is understanding how to use that grip."

LCR's Cal Crutchlow was next best Honda on day two with twelfth place on the timesheets, with Marc's rookie team-mate and younger brother Alex in 17th and Takaaki Nakagami – also making his return from shoulder surgery – in 22nd on the 2019 LCR bike.

Testing concludes on Sunday evening.

 

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