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February 6, 2013

Pedrosa and Márquez Continue Hot Streak in Malaysia


Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Marc Márquez finished the second day of testing in the same first and third positions where they'd ended day one, confirming the positive work the team had done over the winter and also confirming the status of Márquez as one of the elite riders in the MotoGP World Championship. Also having strong second days were Honda riders Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) and Alvaro Bautista (GO & FUN Honda Gresini RC213V). Bradl started his day after noon and was quickly up to pace. His fifth lap was his fastest en route to the sixth fastest time. Bautista was fastest on lap 18 of 30, after which the expected afternoon rain and thunder arrived, putting an early end to the second of three days of testing.

Dani Pedrosazoom
Dani Pedrosa
Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Márquez

Winner of the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix, Pedrosa, 27, improved throughout the session to finish with a best lap of 2m 0.549s on the 29th of 31 laps. The MotoGP World Championship runner-up spent his time continuing to work on the weight balance before the skies opened up. Still, he was able to lower his lap time from Tuesday by over half a second.

That set him up for Thursday's final day, when he plans to try the harder compound Bridgestone tyres while fine tuning his set-up.

MotoGP rookie and Moto2 World Champion Marc Márquez had another productive day on the Repsol Honda RC213V. Márquez, the youngest rider in MotoGP-he turns 20 on Feb. 17- lowered his time by .4s with his fast lap on the 20th of 27.

The team has slowly been acclimating Márquez to the electronics, which have proven him to be a quick study. Today he was able to dial in a little more traction control, which allowed him to further understand the behaviour of the Repsol Honda RC213V. What the team has discovered is that Márquez, like the rider he replaced, Casey Stoner, tends to use less electronics than most riders, instead relying on his innate feel for the motorcycle.

Stefan Bradlzoom
Stefan Bradl
Alvaro Bautistazoom
Alvaro Bautista

Bradl also cut his time by about .4s, while working on race settings. The 23-year-old German arrived late to the track after a restless night, but quickly got down to business. His fifth lap was his fastest and he'd complete another 24 while working through rear suspension settings for most of the day. Bradl then completed a 15-lap endurance run before the rain interrupted his test program.

Bautista, 28 from Spain, was behind Bradl in seventh place with his best lap coming on the 18th of 30. Bautista put in a full day's work, mostly working on the geometry of the 2013 chassis, which is different than the 2012 Honda RC213V. The morning was spent on chassis setting and in the afternoon it was time to test the brakes. The testing program included suspension work, but the afternoon rains washed out the latter part of the day, and, with it, forced the GO & FUN Honda Gresini team to alter their test schedule. The team saw the rain as an opportunity and Bautista was able to gather some data about wet weather performance, but the track wasn't universally wet, which compromised the data gathering.

The end result is that Bautista and his team have an ambitious final day of testing planned before they head back to Italy to prepare for the late-February second test here in Malaysia.

Australian Bryan Staring continued his learning curve aboard the GO & FUN Honda Gresini CRT machine, while slightly hobbled from his Tuesday crash The 25-year-old MotoGP rookie had a smoother day than he'd had a day earlier and put in 28 productive laps. Having a day's more familiarity with the FTR chassis, powered by a Honda CBR1000RR motor, Staring, like his fellow Honda riders, was able to lower his lap time while maintaining his position. His improvement was achieved from working on the geometry of the frame and comparing data from last year's Malaysian Grand Prix.

HRC test team riders Kosuke Akiyoshi and Takumi Takahashi also had productive days. Akiyoshi was 11th fastest among the 27 riders and the fastest of the test riders. Takahashi put in 38 laps and finished with the 20th fastest time while testing parts that may one day find their way onto the factory machines.

The first test of the 2013 concludes on Thursday afternoon.

Bryan Staringzoom
Bryan Staring
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team): 1st, 2m 0.549s
“Today I was able to try some more things on the bike and we made a few positive steps forward from yesterday. The feeling is good, I'm happy and that's what's important. We had planned to try a few more things in the afternoon, like the hard compound tyres, but it started to rain early and we were unable to go out. We hope that it is good weather tomorrow so that we can try them out, as in the coming season it will be important to ride fast on that compound. We also hope to continue moving forward with our quest for the best bike setup.”
Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team): 3rd, 2m 0,803s
“I am happy because we improved our pace a lot and that is what our focus was for today. The final stints on track were more consistent, which helped us to obtain better data. Today I started to work a little with the electronics and we have a few ideas to put into practice tomorrow or in future tests. This is making me learn new things and I am little-by-little understanding the way the electronics behave on this bike.”
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP): 6th, 2m 1.369s
“This morning I took the track later than the others due to some sleeping issues. Unfortunately, I could not sleep properly last night and I started my daily testing program a bit later, but it was still a productive day for us. Once I joined the track I could immediately set an acceptable lap time and we proceeded with our rear suspension settings for the major part of the day. After that we decided to go for a 15-lap long run to improve the average speed before the rain interrupted our TO DO list.”
Alvaro Bautista (GO & FUN Honda Gresini): 7th, 2m 1.729s
“It 's been a day during which we did a lot of work. We worked mainly on trying to improve the setting of yesterday, speaking of the geometry of the frame because this bike is very different compared to that of last year. In practice all morning we devoted to finding a better setting, but we could not find what I wanted. In the afternoon we tried new brakes that we were very satisfied with and when we planned to do some tests of suspension the rain came to ruin everything. However, we did some laps on a wet track, but the conditions were not optimal. Hopefully, tomorrow we have time to complete the work of this first test session of the year.”
Bryan Staring (GO & FUN Honda Gresini): 27th, 2m 6.898s
“Today I had a little pain from yesterday's crash, but after a few laps I was able to pick up the pace. With the engineers we worked on the geometry of the frame and we did some comparative tests on data from the last year. I am happy to work with them, because they are very professional and I have a great help. I also improved slightly my time from yesterday, but I think that to make a quantum leap we need another test session. However, I am convinced and determined to do well and be ready for the start of the championship.”

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