Marquez tops two-day MotoGP test in Valencia

Marquez tops two-day MotoGP test in Valencia


Marquez tops two-day MotoGP test in Valencia


Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez followed up his sixth world title win on Sunday by going fastest in Valencia over two days of testing, almost four tenths clear of teammate Dani Pedrosa – with a best of 1m30.033s. Honda have been testing their 2018 bike as well as the 2017 and some parts on the bike with which they took the triple crown, and both men put in a combined total of over 100 laps. LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, meanwhile, put in a mammoth 72 laps on Day 2 to go sixth fastest as he also begins work on Honda’s 2018 push for glory.

On the second day, Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was the fastest Yamaha, and the Frenchman put in 65 laps to go third overall – just pushed back down the timesheets in the latter stages by Pedrosa. The 2017 Rookie of the Year has been testing the 2017 M1, and has been positive about the bike – saying he feels more potential with it, a sentiment echoed by Tuesday’s fastest Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) on Day 1. On Day 2, Vinales was fifth fastest after 66 laps, with teammate Valentino Rossi taking P7 on the timesheets after 62 laps. Rossi spent Day 2 largely working with a new 2018 engine, and Vinales said Day 1 was more positive but the slightly different track conditions on the second day had helped compare direction for next season.

Ducati, meanwhile, saw Andrea Dovizioso get through his testing program by mid-afternoon and hit the pause button until the Borgo Panigale factory head back out on track – ending the day in P15 but satisfied – with teammate Jorge Lorenzo ending the day in P4 and in the top three for some time. Lorenzo said they got through a good program of work, but more that he understood and was able to practice some changes in his riding style to adapt to the bike – putting in 39 laps with a best of 1:30.534.

Jack Miller (Octo Pramac Racing) impressed once more in eighth on Day 2 despite a crash, putting in 45 laps on his new bike and ending the session just 0.017 ahead of Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar). Iannone, sidelined on the first day with a virus, was back out for 47 laps on Day 2 – and teammate Alex Rins put in 38 laps.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was the last man in the top ten after 44 laps, again close to the man ahead and only 0.012 off ninth. His teammate Scot Redding, settling in on his new machine, did 56 laps and ended the day in P19.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing had another positive day, with Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith lining up in P11 and P12 respectively. With a host of new parts and new team members, positivity abounded once more – with Espargaro putting in 46 laps and Smith 39. Espargaro worked mainly on the rhythm and grip, saying a big step forward had been found.

Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was the fastest rookie in P16, turning the tables on Day 2 to end up just ahead of fellow rookie Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda). Morbidelli did 58 laps despite a crash, Nakagami 62. Xavier Simeon (Reale Avintia Racing), also a rookie and recovering from injury, put in 61 laps to take P20. 

Now some teams head for Jerez for more testing, before the next official outing lights up Sepang International Circuit at the start of next season.