MotoGP: Honda Riders Begin Sepang Tests
Honda began a three-day test Monday at Sepang International Circuit, though inclement weather conditions halted the teams’ work on the RC213V.
Out on the circuit were Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, representing Honda’s satellite effort, and the rookie and Moto2 Champion Marc Marquez on the factory Repsol Honda. As for Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa did not participate. Also on the Malaysian track were Honda test riders Kousuke Akiyoshi and Takumi Takahashi.
Marquez, who had his debut on the RC213V two weeks ago at the traditional post-season test at Valencia, put in a total of 26 laps as the Spaniard continued to familiarize himself with the bike and Bridgestone tires. Marquez put in a best lap of 2:03.65 in the morning sessions; he did not participate during the second session due to rain.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V MotoGP) says: “I did my first laps in MotoGP in Valencia, so today we started to try some things with the bike, but overall I’m quite happy. We only did 28 laps because the track was wet in the morning and in the afternoon it was raining.
“Sure I would like to have done more laps, but we have two days to go, so we need to be quite happy, because the most important thing is that we came here. Maybe the difference from here to Valencia is bigger than in Moto2, because this circuit has more speed and more braking points. The most important thing is that every run, every time I go out, I improve everything.
“My feeling with the bike at the moment…the biggest point is the acceleration compared to Moto2, but here you also feel the brake points a lot, because they are longer and we have a little bit more speed on the straight than Valencia. And this, lap-by-lap, I need to understand more. At the moment I need to ride the bike more, but maybe if I improve everything, my confidence, my feeling and the lap time, maybe I will try the 2013 bike.”
Bautista put in 24 laps, setting the fastest time of the day – a 2:02.19. The Spaniard experimented with upgraded Showa suspension and Nissin brakes.
Alvaro Bautista (Go & Fun Honda Gresini RC213V MotoGP) says: “This morning we had to wait in the box more than two hours because the track still had some wet patches and we preferred to wait until the track was completely dry. This morning the track was not perfect for grip, but to compare the new front fork that Showa brought us it was enough. I tested the new suspension, new front suspension, and we also tested different settings. We didn’t really find what we expected, but we found something good, just not what expected.
“In the afternoon we could test in the wet, and I remembered the last race here in the wet. I remembered that I had a problem in the braking area, and today we tried to improve. It was not enough, as we still have that problem, so for sure it has not been the perfect test for us. But we have two days more to improve the Showa suspension, and they have more material to give me and to try and improve our problem.
“For us this test is important, because it’s the last chance Showa have to give us good material and something that works. We will try to do our best and find a good solution. After this test we will decide which suspension we will have next year. We have a good reference with Showa and we will see what happens.”