Marc Marquez will head into the winter break confident of another championship challenge next season after topping the timesheets on his final test day of 2017 at Valencia. The Spaniard, who clinched his fourth MotoGP crown on Sunday and sixth across all classes, was the fastest rider on Wednesday at the Ricardo Tormo circuit as preparations for 2018 began in earnest.
Marquez was a tenth faster than Maverick Vinales’ day one benchmark as he experimented with both the 2017 and 2018 configurations of Honda RC213V and believes the team are well placed to produce another competitive package in time for the Sepang test in the new year.
“We collected a lot of information, and now it will be very important to prepare well for the next time we’ll be on track, which will be the Malaysia test at the end of January. Anyway, today was a good day, very positive. We tried many things and had a good pace, so I’m happy with how it went. We had a few issues to sort out with the new bike, and of course it has some positives and negatives, but that’s completely normal for a test when you put a completely new engine and machine on the track. We also tried a lot of things on our current bike, which worked very well, and we were able to gather a lot of useful data. That said, we’ll need to try everything again at the next test. Valencia is a particular track, a small circuit, and today’s conditions were very good, so we’ll need to re-confirm everything at another circuit.”
Valencia GP winner Dani Pedrosa was four tenths shy of his team-mate in second on Wednesday and also gathered plenty of data having completed 51 laps on the final day.
“Today we started the test by checking the track with my race bike, and then we immediately moved on to the new bike to analyse the setup changes we made yesterday afternoon”, he explained. “We basically tested a different setup with electronics, suspension and geometry, looking to better understand how the new bike behaves. We’re not just considering performance but also trying to understand what the bike does on the tyres and on this track, and discovering what the positive and weak points are. We also tried a new swingarm and a new Michelin rear tyre that has a different compound on one side. So it was a lot of work, with many different things to understand and set up. We made a lot of progress, but of course we’re not there yet with all the settings. All in all it was a very important session, and we collected a lot of info to work with during the break.”