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15/16/17 February 2017

Honda MotoGP Riders Continue Excellent Preseason Progress

Preparations for the 2017 MotoGP season continued at Phillip Island this week, with four Honda riders completing a successful three-day official test in hot and sunny conditions.

Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez
Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez

Honda’s fastest men - Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) - made it three RC213Vs in the fastest five, confirming impressions from the opening Sepang tests that they have speed in abundance and consistency to match.

In contrast to the Sepang outing earlier this month, riders and teams enjoyed three days of near perfect weather, with track temperatures exceeding 40 degrees each afternoon. And Phillip Island’s succession of high-speed curves gave riders ample opportunity to test the handling and stability of their 2017 machinery.

Reigning World Champion Marquez completed the tests a close second fastest, demonstrating excellent speed and fantastic consistency while preparing his latest RC213V for the 2017 season, which gets underway in Qatar on March 26.

The Spaniard, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Friday, rode a staggering 107 laps on the second day, including two long and impressively fast runs. He rode another 96 laps on Friday, with many in the 1m 28s to 1m 29s range.

Over the three days, only Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) was faster, and no one was as consistent. Even more impressive was the fact that Marquez was working without crew chief Santi Hernandez, who was absent due to illness.

Pedrosa was third fastest and just 0.19s slower than his team-mate after jumping up the order late on the final day. Pedrosa managed the improvement despite having to overcome a throat infection, which caused him to sit out much of Thursday morning.

Pedrosa, working well with new crew chief Giacomo Guidotti, adapted his electronics set-up and experimented with a succession of different settings through the three days. The Spaniard didn’t complete a long, race-simulation like Marquez but was nonetheless more than content with his progress.

Crutchlow returned to the scene of his 2016 Australian Grand Prix victory, finishing the test fifth overall, only half a second off the fastest lap. It took the 30-year-old Briton some time to adapt electronics settings to the character of his 2017 engine, but he was fast across the three days. Also, the long run that Crutchlow completed on Friday was sometimes as fast as those of Vinales and Marquez, demonstrating the strength of the LCR Honda squad’s technical package.

Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) continued his strong preseason form by ending the test a promising ninth quickest. The Australian felt the benefits of new front forks and improvements to electronics and chassis performance. The winner of last year’s Dutch TT now feels he has a strong base setting as he prepares for his third season in MotoGP.

Miller’s team-mate Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) didn’t attend the test due to injuries sustained in a crash at Sepang. The former Moto2 World Champion underwent surgery at the start of the month and hopes to be able to ride at the next tests.

The third and final preseason test will take place at the Losail Circuit in Qatar from on March 10/11/12.

Repsol Honda Teamzoom
Repsol Honda Team
Dani Pedrosazoom
Dani Pedrosa

Honda MotoGP rider quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 2nd, 1m 28.843s
“I’m very happy with how it went today because we improved a lot, especially in the afternoon, even if I did my best lap time in the morning. In the end I felt much more comfortable and it seems that yesterday’s long runs were useful for improving the electronics and getting closer to the level we wanted to reach. Overall, I think it has been three very positive days, and we did a good job. Of course we shouldn’t forget that this circuit is quite particular, and in Qatar we’ll see where we really are. Today I had a funny present from my team, a magnifying glass! I know I’m quite persistent in asking to check the data to find the issues we had, and they told me to find them myself! I’m very thankful that HRC is putting in a lot of effort, and step-by-step we’re getting better. I’d like to wish all the best to my crew chief Santi [Hernandez], who wasn't able to be here at Philip Island because of some medical checks. We all missed him and we’re looking forward to seeing him with us again at the next test!”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd, 1m 29.033s
“Overall I think it’s been a very positive test, especially considering that this isn’t one of my favorite tracks. I was riding quite well and I think we improved day by day. Yesterday I wasn’t feeling well, but today I felt a bit better and we were able to do a good job on the track. The team has worked very well. We focused again on electronics and on the setup of the bike, and the only thing we missed was a long run, as we ran out of time. Michelin have also made some good steps forward with the tires. All in all, we can say we’re heading in the right direction, even if we still have some work to do.”
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: 5th, 1m 29.101s
“We had some small issues this morning that we had to fix, so we missed the window to set a fast lap time. We had some things to try but nothing I hadn’t tried before. The electronics still seem to be a bit of an issue. We have bolted an engine into the chassis and it takes time to adapt this. I think in Qatar we will learn more. It may be a learning start to the year. Overall the lap time is not so bad. We can go quicker. We’re happy enough. If there was a race tomorrow I think it would be a battle between Marc, Vinales and me. I’m quite optimistic. I feel good.”
Jack Miller, EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda: 9th, 1m 29.358s
“These three days here at Phillip Island have been really positive for us. For the first time in a long while I feel like I’m in charge of the bike and not the other way around. We came here to confirm what we learned in Sepang and we’ve done that, so we know our base set-up works at two very different tracks and I’m confident it will be the same in Qatar at the final test. There is still some work to do before we get the season underway next month, but we’ve done much of the hard work and it’s now just a case of refining what we have to find the final few tenths we are missing. Overall I’m pleased with our preparations for the new season and looking forward to the final test in Qatar next month.”
Dani Pedrosazoom
Dani Pedrosa

Combined Standings Days 1-2-3

Rank Rider (Team)
1Maverick VIÑALES(Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
2Marc MARQUEZ(Repsol Honda Team)
3Dani PEDROSA(Repsol Honda Team)
4Jonas FOLGER(Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
7Andrea DOVIZIOSO(Ducati Team)
8Jorge LORENZO(Ducati Team)
9Jack MILLER(Marc VDS Racing Team)
10Aleix ESPARGARO(Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
11Alvaro BAUTISTA(Pull&Bear Aspar Team)
12Valentino ROSSI(Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
14Danilo PETRUCCI(Octo Pramac Racing)
15Johann ZARCO(Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
16Hector BARBERA(Reale Esponsorama Racing)
17Pol ESPARGARO(Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
18Loris BAZ(Reale Esponsorama Racing)
19Bradley SMITH(Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
20Scott REDDING(Octo Pramac Racing)
21Karel ABRAHAM(Pull&Bear Aspar Team)
22Sam LOWES(Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)

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