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Malaysia
30/31 January / 1 February 2017

Marquez, Pedrosa and Crutchlow Impress in First 2017 Tests

The long offseason of waiting is finally over: MotoGP roared back into action this week at Sepang, where a full grid of riders commenced their 2017 preparations for the new season, which gets underway in Qatar on March 26.

Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez
Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez

Reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) was in typically strong form, running towards the front throughout the three days and finally ending up a very close third quickest, just over a tenth behind fastest man Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) and a fraction behind Andrea Iannone (Suzuki).

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) was also very much on the pace: fourth fastest and a mere two tenths of a second behind the fastest rider.

Much of the three-day test was interrupted by rain and a track surface that remained stubbornly wet for hours after each downpour. This was frustrating for teams and riders who were forced to wait in the pits waiting for the track to dry evaluate their new bikes and new settings.

Rain was also forecast for today but only a few spots fell, so many riders were able to run a lot of laps. Testing continues at Phillip Island, Australia, on February 15/16/17 and at Losail, Qatar, on 10/11/12 March.

Twenty-three-year old Marquez rode more laps than anyone today - 85 laps of the 5.5km/3.4 mile Sepang circuit, or 460km/290 miles of on-the-limit riding in debilitating 32-degree and 90 percent humidity. The effort, however, was worth it because the three-time MotoGP World Champion believes HRC have all the data they need to keep moving him forward during the final two preseason tests.

Pedrosa (31) was also in good form, lapping a tenth slower than his team-mate and also gaining vital data and set-up information that will be invaluable, especially at the early races. The former 125cc and 250cc World Champion was happy with the progress he had made as he worked towards contesting a 12th consecutive MotoGP season with Repsol Honda. Both team rivals are now on their way to Jakarta, Indonesia, where they will take part in an official team launch on February 3.

Briton Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) was another rider who put the mostly dry third day to extra-good use, riding 71 laps in the grueling conditions. Last year Crutchlow won two MotoGP races and finished the campaign as top independent rider. Once again this season he will be boosted by help from HRC, who are impressed with his speed.

Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) ended the three days 17th fastest, exactly one second off the fastest guys. The Australian and his team focused on front grip and mid-corner speed, in preparation for his race outing on home on asphalt knows.

Miller’s team-mate was much less fortunate. Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) crashed heavily on day two, the accident leaving him unable to ride for the rest of the session. The former Moto2 World Champion suffered a lacerated left knee, toe injuries and a wrist injury.

 

Marquez and Pedrosa travel to Jakarta, Indonesia, for the team launch on February 3.

Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez
Dani Pedrosazoom
Dani Pedrosa
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 3rd, 1m 59.506s
"I’m much happier with my position today, even if the rhythm is really more important. We did a lot of laps, aiming to do as much work as possible, and indeed we did a good job; we completed much of our work schedule, though not everything. We need to make further improvements in some areas where I’m not yet totally comfortable, but even so, I’m happy that we got better and better over the three days, which is the most important thing. Today we again worked a lot on the electronics and on the bike set-up. In the last hour, I did a mini-long run of 11 laps, sacrificing the time-attack a bit, but for us it was more important to work on the pace. I’m generally very happy with how the three days went."
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 5th, 1m 55.578s
"We were lucky with the weather today. We managed to complete a full day and could do many laps and work a lot. Obviously it was the final of three days of very hot conditions, and one already feels a bit tired being this is the first test of the year. Anyway, I may say it was a positive enough day because we made several steps forward. We struggled a bit at the beginning, but as the day went on we were able to fix several things and get quicker. We’re still not 100% but we were a lot faster than the first day, which gives a positive general picture to this first winter test."
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: 9th, 1m 59.728s
"We had a positive day today with the bike, and we are still evaluating the different engine configurations for Honda. We worked hard and worked well as a team again. I do believe we could have picked up a little bit more in terms of lap time in some areas, but this was just a slight problem we had and we are happy enough with what has been a positive outcome during the test. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we know that Honda will be going back to the factory with everything that has been fed back to them at this test. They work very hard for us all and when we get back onto the track hopefully that means we will have another good test in Australia."
Jack Miller: EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda, 17th, 2m 00.439s
"It’s been a good three days here at Sepang for me. We’ve made more positive steps in terms of front-end feeling than we managed in the previous two years and, step-by-step, I was getting faster. We had a small problem with the bike during the long run, which was a real shame as I'm confident I could have improved my time by a significant amount with the soft tires we'd kept back for the end of the day. But, overall, I'm happy with the new chassis and how the bike is working. Yes, we could have gone faster but the feeling is good and I'm looking forward to picking up where we left off here when we get to Phillip Island."
Dani Pedrosazoom
Dani Pedrosa

Combined Standings Days 1-2-3

Rank Rider (Team)
1Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
2Andrea IANNONE (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
3Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
4Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
5Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
6Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
7Alvaro BAUTISTA (Pull&Bear Aspar Team)
8Casey STONER (Ducati Test Team)
9Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda)
10Jorge LORENZO (Ducati Team)
11Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
12Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
13Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
14Danilo PETRUCCI (Octo Pramac Racing)
15Jonas FOLGER (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
16Hector BARBERA (Reale Esponsorama Racing)
17Jack MILLER (Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS)
18Karel ABRAHAM (Pull&Bear Aspar Team)
19Scott REDDING (Octo Pramac Racing)
20Loris BAZ (Reale Esponsorama Racing)
21Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
22Bradley SMITH (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
23Sam LOWES (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
24Michele PIRRO (Ducati Test Team)
25Katsuyuki NAKASUGA (Yamaha Factory Test Team)
26Takuya TSUDA (Suzuki Test Team)
27Kouta NOZANE (Yamaha Factory Test Team)
28Tito RABAT (Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS)

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