“We leave with positive feelings after the first time at this track.”
So said Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) after the end of track action at Buriram, having topped the timesheets with an emphatic final push. The fastest-ever lap of the track will now remain Pedrosa’s 1m29.781s until the Thai GP in October – and the Repsol Honda rider made it three from three for Honda at the top.
“It was really tough because with three days here, so many laps and so hot…and we didn’t have many tires left so we had to manage it in how to plan it,” explained Pedrosa, “and we still have some things to test. But overall, it’s very positive, and the most important thing is that we learned the track.”
Teammate Marquez, meanwhile, was also feeling the heat – and did more than 270 laps over the three days. But likewise, the rider from Cervera is positive – especially about his long run pace.
“I’m very, very happy, we did a lot of laps and we improved in some areas,” said Marquez. “Today I didn’t push for a time attack, I did a long run. I was very, very happy with the long run. It was consistent and physically I felt well.”
There was a small crash for the reigning champion – but he shrugged it off. “After more than 200 laps, concentration isn’t the same, I was trying a new front fork and I lost the front but it was just 50km/h!”
One big talking point on Day 3 was a new carbon fiber swingarm at Honda. But it wasn’t new – it had been tested since Valencia.
“Yeah, we tried the carbon swingarm, the one we’ve been using since Valencia,” grins Marquez. “No one asked about it, so we didn’t say anything! But we’re doing back to back tests, we’re not sure because it’s a new prototype and has positives and negatives. Today was the first time I did a long run with it. When the tire is new maybe we get more grip but when it’s a used tire, more shaking.”
Pedrosa shared the smile at the accidental undercover prototype, but similarly stressed it’s a work in progress. “We’re trying this style of swingarm which no other manufacturers are using. It’s the first time we’ve gone into that area and we’re still in the process. It’s not easy when you don’t have experience with it but I think it’s positive, learning more about it and getting feelings, feedback and a starting point.”
The final thing the riders were quizzed on was a lot more divisive, however. The new aero fairing drew a simple. “I didn’t like it, it’s not what I expected” from Pedrosa, but Marquez swayed the other way: “The new fairing was quite positive today. I like it, and I was consistent with the used tire.”
The final word at the conclusion of the test goes to Marquez, who echoed the thoughts of many…
“Now we analyze here, then forget it and concentrate on Qatar because that’s a track where we suffer more,” he says. “Honestly, after so much testing, I’m just waiting for the races.”
One more test begins in Qatar on March 1, before the season fires up to race two weeks later.