Yesterday, Marc Marquez had predicted that he would drop below the 1’30” mark at Buriram and he personally made sure his prediction came true. With a new tyre at the end of the day, he dropped 31 thousandths under that threshold, the first and only one to do so, beating out teammate Pedrosa who had long been in the lead for this second day of tests, completing the Honda one-two.
However, more than that time of 1’29”969 on the screens, there were two other impressive details: the first is that he did it with a medium tyre on the rear and the second is the pace that he managed to maintain. Neither the Spaniard nor anyone else ventured into a race simulation, but in a 10-lap long run, Marquez managed to do 6 in the high 1’30”s, something none of the others were able to do. Not even Pedrosa, fast indeed (0”158 gap) but not at his garage mate’s level in terms of pace.
Behind the two Hondas is a Ducati, but last year’s model. It was Miller who rode his GP17 to the third place time, just over 2 tenths behind Marquez. It was not simply a single, breakneck lap, because Jack demonstrated consistency throughout the day.
Placing the cherry on top of the team Pramac festivities was the 6th place done by Danilo Petrucci, who had the chance today to try the new fairings that the factory riders had used yesterday. The Italian did not improve his time at the end of the session and Dovizioso and Lorenzo didn’t even try, probably busy with other work.
Andrea was 9th just over a half a second behind and, browsing through the time sheets, he seems to be at least a couple of tenths slower than Marquez in terms of pace. Jorge, on the other hand, was 10th, 0”760 behind Marc.
Moving back up the standings, in 4th and 5th place we find respectively Viñales and Zarco. Maverick salvaged the honour of the 2018 M1 by 86 thousandths of a second, but in truth, he hovered around the middle of the rankings for the entire day before getting in a few good laps in the final minutes. Johann, on the contrary (who uses the 2016 frame, mind you) demonstrated a good pace, on the same level as the fastest, with the exception of Marquez.
Much farther back was Valentino Rossi, 14th and 0”919 behind. It is true that the Doctor did not try to improve in the finale, but seeing him just 13 thousandths ahead of rookie Nakagami has a strange effect. Yesterday he had said that he was worried and it is unlikely that the events of today gave him any peace of mind.
Suzuki, on the other hand, was rather convincing, thanks to Rins and his 7th place just 0”477 behind Marquez, but ahead of Crutchlow, who was the fastest yesterday. Alex is interpreting his GSX-RR extremely well and Iannone is not far off in 11th (time done yesterday morning) ahead of the Ducatis ridden by Rabat and Bautista.
We expected more from Aprilia, however, although Espargaró and Redding still do not have the 2018 engine. The bike is new and the rough edges need to be smoothed out, but Aleix is 17th at a gap of 0”161, behind Smith’s KTM and 55 thousandths ahead of rookie Franco Morbidelli, who is continuing his apprenticeship without wanting to push the envelope.
Speaking of rookies, Syahrin did well astride his Tech3 Yamaha. He is penultimate on the sheets, but his times are perfectly in line with Luthi’s (who is ahead of him) and decidedly better than Simeon’s (who closes out the rankings).