MotoGP Official Test Sepang

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February 5, 2013

Pedrosa and Márquez Off to Hot Starts in Malaysia


Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Marc Márquez began the 2013 MotoGP test season with impressive performances on the first of three days of testing at the Sepang Circuit outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Almost as impressive were second year Honda riders Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), a close fifth fastest, and Alvaro Bautista, the Spaniard now on the GO & FUN Honda Gresini RC213V.

Dani Pedrosazoom
Dani Pedrosa
Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Márquez

Pedrosa led all comers by blazing to the fastest time on a day of moderate but still warm and humid weather, though the expected afternoon deluge never materialized. That allowed the 2012 MotoGP World Championship runner-up a full day’s testing and he made the most of it. On the same track where he won the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix, Pedrosa clocked the fastest lap of the day, a time 2m 1.157s, on the 48th of his 49 laps.

MotoGP rookie and Moto2 World Champion Marc Márquez was impressive in his third ride on the Repsol Honda RC213V, not only for his speed but also his durability. The young Spaniard completed 62 laps of the 5.548k circuit; his best time of 2m 1.201s came on lap 60. Márquez admitted to being nervous having not ridden since a test here last November, but it didn’t show. He spent considerable time at the top of the charts and it took the best of two veterans, Pedrosa and world champion Jorge Lorenzo, to take him down to third, and then not by much; his time was only .044s off the benchmark set by Pedrosa. Such was the strength of his debut that it drew accolades from all of his senior rivals.

Stefan Bradlzoom
Stefan Bradl
Alvaro Bautistazoom
Alvaro Bautista

Bradl also put in a full day’s work thanks to what he considered optimal conditions. The 2011 Moto2 World Champion altered his training routine over the winter to improve his fitness. Today he was fast both early and late and on the pace to the very end. His fastest lap put him only .632s behind Pedrosa, which he put to both his fitness and the preparation of the team, which now had a year’s experience with the LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V. Bradl spent much of the day getting reacquainted with the speed of the Honda, while working with a variety of rear suspension settings. His goal for the 2013 season is to be better on used tyres near the end of the races and he began that process today.

Bautista was less than .2s behind Bradl in seventh place after his 59-lap day on the Go & Fun Gresini Honda RC213V. He attributed his early speed to the conditions and the work put in by the team on the setup of the suspension. With two more days of good weather, Bautista believes he can improve his racing package and continue to ascend the timing ladder.

Bryan Staring, 25, had a less successful day in his 2013 debut on the GO & FUN Honda Gresini CRT machine. The Australian MotoGP rookie fell at one point, denying himself and his team valuable setup time as he transitions from the FIM Superstock 1000 Championship. Staring has a steep learning curve-the FTR chassis, the Bridgestone tyres, the carbon brakes, the electronics-but he’s been a quick study in the past. Staring won three FIM Superstock 1000 races last year and also has three titles in his native Australia.

The test continues Wednesday and Thursday.

Bryan Staringzoom
Bryan Staring
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team): 1st, 2m 1.157s
“It's the first day back testing after the winter break. We've spent three months off the bike and the feeling from the first day testing is positive. The track was in good condition and we were able to put in a lot of laps at a good pace, thanks to it not being especially hot. I haven't ridden since the November test in Valencia, so today has been a first step to getting back on the pace. We didn't play about with the setup today, but we will move onto that in the remaining two days of testing.”
Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team): 3rd, 2m 1.201s
“I'm very happy with how the first day went, because you always have a few nerves after a couple of months out. I thought that I would take a little longer to get back 'on it', but right from the opening laps I felt very comfortable on the bike. We picked up confidence from the start, although obviously we can still improve. I don't think the result today should be used as a reference point, because we are all trying out new things. I focused on simply finding a good setup and getting comfortable on the bike. I tried to put in a good time so that the day's testing had a purpose.”
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP): 5th, 2m 1.789s
“I am very satisfied about this first day of test. The weather and the asphalt temperature were perfect and we could easily complete out test program. Thanks to my new winter training I feel more fit un these conditions and I found the guys very motivated and even more technically prepared. Actually, we started our 2013 campaign on a higher level. Today was mainly a test for myself, to get used to the bike again, recover the feeling, feel the throttle and the brakes after a long time off. We combined a lot if things from Ohlins suspension to swing-arm lengths and rear grip feeling. Doubtless there’s more work to do especially on used tyres: I must improve my riding style on used rubber to match my competitors pace during the races and we will focus on this point in the near future.”
Alvaro Bautista (GO & FUN Honda Gresini): 7th, 2m 1.981s
“Being back on track after the long winter break is always nice, but it's challenging because you have to take the right rhythm. Fortunately, the weather conditions here were helpful and it was a lot easier. We worked hard during the day on the setup of the suspension and at the end I was satisfied. Of course, there’s still so much work to do and we have planned for the remaining two days of testing. I'm glad to be back with my team and to have started a new season with them.”
Bryan Staring (GO & FUN Honda Gresini): 27th, 2m 07.044s
“I'm happy to have made my debut in MotoGP, but at the same time I feel sorry for the trivial fall that I had. Unfortunately, I touched the kerb in a corner, lost control and crashed to the ground. Of course, the difference with the bike that I rode previously is significant, but mostly I'll try to adapt my driving style to the power of the Go & Fun Team Honda Gresini CRT. Today we did a good job during the 41 laps and I got on very well with members of the team. I realized that that might be very helpful for my growth in this challenging category.”

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