Marquez Leads The Way In COTA Testing

Marc Marquez during testing at the Circuit of The Americas. (COTA photo)
Marc Marquez during testing at the Circuit of The Americas. (COTA photo)

AUSTIN, Texas — Marc Márquez continued to set the pace on the second day of MotoGP testing at Circuit of The Americas.

The rookie rider again led Repsol Honda Team partner Dani Pedrosa as the seven riders present remained in the same order as on Tuesday. Having completed its program, Yamaha Factory Racing headed home.

20-year-old Márquez shaved less time off his personal best effort than any of the other six riders, but was still capable of leading Pedrosa by just over one tenth of a second courtesy of his 2:03.853 endeavor. Although the times cannot be taken too seriously, the result is still likely to come as a huge confidence booster for the current Moto2 title holder.

A second chilly start was converted into another warm and bright afternoon, with track temperatures building steadily despite the surface staying distinctly dusty – and therefore hazardous for all concerned – off the racing line. On-line grip levels improved, with Pedrosa confirming that as he posted his best time in the last knockings. Previously, the championship runner-up of 2012 – who today worked mostly on gearbox settings – had topped five of the six pre-season days in Malaysia.

Yamaha’s plan was more condensed than most, with Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi now leaving the track after two days of circuit adaptation and setup work. The latter was over half a second slower than his teammate, whereas the reigning world champion was highly pleased that his team had made the effort to travel to America and attend the Honda-organized gathering.

“I feel better today, especially in the last run before the lunch break, we changed the set up of the bike and we improved some tenths so we are closer to the fastest riders, but not as much as we would like. We were too soft in the suspension to start with, we made it harder and in this track it works,” said Lorenzo. “These two days that we are here I think is enough to get a good idea of set up and riding style. The fans will like MotoGP here, it is going to be a great show.”

However, both Yamaha riders have admitted concerns that the bikes of Márquez and Pedrosa are quicker at this point.

On his LCR Honda MotoGP machine, Stefan Bradl split the Yamahas and was just three tenths down on Lorenzo. The German has quickly become a fan of the uphill Turn 1 and also gains valuable extra track time at the venue that is to host Round 2 of the season. Keeping a close eye on proceedings is MotoGP tyre supplier Bridgestone, which after this week’s test will be making a decision on which compound to race in Texas.

A pair of CRT runners graced the circuit, with Attack Performance’s Blake Young and GPTech’s Michael Barnes ending the day just over three tenths of a second apart. Both men will contest the three American races on the championship calendar in 2013.