Marquez and Fellow RCV Riders Advance Electronics Development
Double MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) placed a promising second overall at this week’s Phillip Island tests, making significant progress with MotoGP’s all-new unified software.
- Marc Marquez
The Australian shakedown was the second opportunity for riders to fine-tune their bikes to new Michelin tires and same-for-all Magneti Marelli electronics software, ahead of the season-opener in Qatar on 20th March.
Riders found their attempts to gain as much track time as possible frustrated by rain at various times throughout the three days. Yet even this brought positives, because on Wednesday riders were able to test Michelin’s rain tires for the first time, while the intermittent conditions also allowed them to sample the new-for-2016 intermediate tires.
Having struggled to find perfect settings for the new electronics in the first tests at Sepang, Marquez made strides with set-up at Phillip Island. The recently turned 23-year-old used only the latest 2016-spec engine across the three days and was happy with progress, despite a tumble at turn nine on the final day.
Despite grazing his chin and left elbow in the fall, Marquez was otherwise OK and was pleased that his fastest time was over one tenth of a second better than his best lap from last year’s race. Now the Spaniard is keen to confirm his set-up improvements at the final tests in Qatar, which start in March 2.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was a heartening third fastest across the three days thanks to an excellent lap on Friday afternoon. The Briton continued adapting his set-up to the spec electronics and Michelin tires, and felt he did not have to push to the absolute limit to achieve his best lap. Crutchlow fell at turn four on Friday afternoon after losing the front end but wasn’t hurt in the spill.
Like Crutchlow, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) also fell victim to the tricky turn four during the test. The Spaniard was unhurt after a fall on Thursday afternoon and believed that he and his crew made significant headway with the electronics package across the three days. The former 125 and 250 World Champion spent time on chassis set-up on Thursday and Friday and was able to improve his personal best time by 0.3 seconds on the final day.
A welcome returnee from injury, Jack Miller (Marc VDS Racing Team) was able to commence his 2016 preparations at his home circuit. While still recovering from a broken right leg, sustained less than four weeks ago, the 21-year-old continued adapted well to his team and slashed half a second off his personal best on the final day. The Australian was unharmed in a slow-speed spill at turn six on Friday morning and is now focussing his attention on recovering his physical condition further ahead of the final test in Qatar.
Class rookie Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) took the positives from two falls on Friday as he learnt more about what is required to ride a MotoGP machine. The former Moto2 World Champion placed just one position behind team-mate Miller and was able to post his fastest time on his last lap of the test. Rabat was content that he had made steady progress across the three days and is already looking forward to his next outing.
Riders now have just three more days in Qatar on March 2/3/4 before the 68th season of World Championship motorcyle racing gets underway.
- Marc Marquez
- Dani Pedrosa
- Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 2nd – 1m 29.158s
- “Overall, these three days have been very good. I’m especially happy with the today, because we have taken a big step forward. In the afternoon I managed to maintain a consistently fast pace, and this was the first time this preseason that I’ve started to feel good with the bike and the new tires. It’s a pity that at the end of the session when we wanted to try something else, it was too late. I was pushing hard at the same time, I lost the front and crashed. The important thing is that I was unhurt and the work we’ve done has been positive. Yesterday we focused on adjusting the electronics and finding a good base, and today I think we did a good job looking for balance in the set-up of the bike.”
- Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: 3rd – 1m 29.348s
- “Obviously I had a crash in turn four, along with many people. It’s the same as normal at – when the temperature cools down we struggle from the centre of the front tire. Our final day here was an OK day. We worked a lot on the electronics but we didn’t gain so much. I never came here to set the world alight. I didn’t push too much and I didn’t need to. We are riding to the limit of our package with regards to what we can do. Overall I’m happy because I didn’t push so hard today. I didn’t need to. My pace was OK and I know that we could have gone faster if we really needed to. I’ll go away, have some rest and then in Qatar hopefully we can ride the new bike.”
- Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 8th – 1m 29.606s
- “The last day was a bit difficult. In the morning it was hard to improve on the set-up we found yesterday morning and lower our times. We rode on used tires all day to see how the bike behaved after a lot of laps. In the afternoon, after the rain fell, we improved a bit in some places, but I think we still have some work to do. The positive thing is that since the test in Malaysia we have improved with the electronics, and we hope to take an important step forward in the set-up of the bike at the Qatar test, especially with the new compound for the front tire that will be brought there.”
- Jack Miller, Marc VDS Racing Team: 15th – 1m 30.023s
- “It’s been a good test and we’ve managed to get a lot of things out of the way here, so we’re not faced with a massive job in Qatar in two weeks. I think just to feel how it was on the bike here was well worth it and it’s going to be even better in Qatar with an extra two weeks to heal and more physiotherapy, so it’s all good. It’s a shame about the weather, but we still managed to get a heap of laps in and I was stoked to be back on the bike. The lap this afternoon felt comfortable and I didn’t feel like I was taking any risks. The fall this morning was my error; I had a bit of a moment and pushed the pads back in the calipers, but it was only a small off. I’m really happy with the first test of 2016 and I’m looking forward to Qatar.”
- Tito Rabat, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 16th – 1m 30.119s
- “I’ve learnt a lot here at Phillip Island, both in the wet and the dry, so I’m happy about that. I had two crashes on today; one big one at turn one and one small one at turn four, but even these had a positive aspect. The fact that I crashed, but was able to get back on the bike and improve again was good for my confidence. Now I understand a little better the Honda RC213V and the Michelin tires, but there is still a lot of work to be done. For me it is important we make improvements step-by-step, rather than being pushed into trying to run before we can walk and risking the consequences of a big crash. I leave Phillip Island happy and I can’t wait to get back on the bike in Qatar.”
- Dani Pedrosa
Combined Standings Days 1-2-3
|1||Maverick VIÑALES (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|2||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda)|
|4||Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)|
|5||Hector BARBERA (Avintia Racing)|
|6||Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)|
|7||Loris BAZ (Avintia Racing)|
|8||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|9||Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|10||Andrea IANNONE (Ducati Team)|
|11||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|12||Scott REDDING (Octo Pramac Yakhnich)|
|13||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|14||Danilo PETRUCCI (Octo Pramac Yakhnich)|
|15||Jack MILLER (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|16||Tito RABAT (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|17||Aleix ESPARGARO (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|18||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Aspar MotoGP Team)|
|19||Eugene LAVERTY (Aspar MotoGP Team)|
|20||Takuya TSUDA (Suzuki Test Team)|