Don’t look (only) at the seventh place time Marquez did on the third day of tests in Malaysia. The World Champion and team Honda are well aware which direction to go and what timeline they need to follow in order to get to the top.
Number 93 himself explains: “I used to always look at the time monitor and I would attempt an attack in every situation - Marc explains - Then, in recent years, I changed my strategy, dedicating more time to finding the ideal setup, doing a lot of long runs. I used to risk more, but now I have changed. I only risk when I am ready to do so. You obviously all look at my time today, but I can tell you that we were not trying for top performance, instead deciding to try a lot of upgrades on the RC 213V. I did a long run with the highest temperature of the day and my pace was good. I am happy with how the testing season has started. Now we’ll go to Thailand to see where we stand.”
Over the past few days, you had new aerodynamics and new engines, all to be developed…
“At the moment, the new fairing leaves us with a few doubts and questions that we need to answer. We will test it on other tracks: the new fairing is rather extreme, pushing the limits of the technical regulation. We need to homologate a type of aerodynamics for the first part of the season and it is hard to do that, but we’ll decide. I am happy with the new engine. It is still not at 100% of its potential, but Dani, Cal and I are working in three different directions to develop it and understand as many things as possible.”
How did your bike perform with this heat?
“I turned a lot of laps to understand its performance and tyre wear. I noticed that the power output is still too abrupt and aggressive. We tested and we’ll do some more work to try to have the smoothest possible power, in other words, with the horsepower arriving more progressively. The definitive choice on which engine to use will be taken after listening to the impressions provided by Pedrosa, Crutchlow and me. We three will be working on three different paths to find the same direction.”
Were you impressed by Lorenzo’s record with the Ducati?
“We know how strong Jorge and Ducati are in Sepang. In fact, a lot of riders are fast on this track. Every year, we come to Malaysia and we say: ‘oh, look at how many riders are already fast’. To tell the truth, what counts is laying the right foundation in view of the first Grand Prix in Qatar and the rest of the races on the calendar. The most important thing of all is what race pace you can manage to maintain.”