For his 24th birthday, Marc Marquez received a well-deserved gift at Phillip Island. Over the last days, despite very respectable lap times, the world champion had complained about a few things with his Honda. Today these knots have been ironed out and the bike is now closer to what he wants.
“Over the last days I've been saying that we were still missing something in terms of the electronics and engine- he states - but this afternoon we made quite a big change and things have improved. This morning I spent a lot of time trying new things, then we focused on our base to work on the problems”.
The move was the right one.
“The times immediately came down with each exit I made, and I started to feel better on the bike - he confirms - It seems they've understand what I want with this engine, I still don't have it but it's getting better”.
Marc's not going to count his chickens yet though.
“We need to bear in mind that this is a unique track, both in terms of riding and bike set-up, so I want to check how everything works in Qatar - he comments - I've completed many laps and that's normal as I need to understand the new engine. It's important to arrive in Qatar with a good base because we can't make hundreds of laps a day during a race weekend ”
Before the next and final test, there's a little time and the Japanese technicians will have their work cut out.
“The engineers continue to work to solve the problems and get something more out of the engine - confirms Marquez - We've already made great progress and we still have three days to continue in this vein, also because our engines will then be sealed”.
From what the stopwatch tells us, Vinales is Marc's main rival.
“Today I came up behind him and was able to follow him for a couple of laps, which was interesting, just as it was to follow the Ducatis and Suzukis too - he reveals - Yamaha has a very competitive bike, just like last year, and it will be hard to beat. We'll see who our rivals are in race one, the tests are another thing altogether, but I think that Vinales and Rossi will be up front. The Ducatis have struggled more here but I have to watch out for them, I think Pedrosa will be strong this year too”.
What's the M1's strength?
“The Yamaha is very stable through the fast turns, while mine is more jumpy, but every year I have the same problem - he laughs - We're working to resolve it”
PEDROSA: WE'RE MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION - It's been a positive day for Pedrosa too. With his fever gone, he was able to make the most of the final hours and place third, right behind his team-mate.
“All in all, I think it's been a very positive test, especially considering that this is not one of my favourite tracks - commented Dani - I've ridden quite well and have improved each day. Yesterday I was feeling unwell, but I felt better today and could work hard. We again focused on the electronics and the setting, I just didn't have time for a long-run. Michelin has also taken some positive steps with the tyres. I can say that we're moving in the right direction, although there is still work to do”.