Marc Marquez got the chance to ride his new bike in dry conditions during the final hours of testing at Valencia.
MotoGP riders were treated to a break in the wet weather at Valencia during the second day of testing and were able to log laps on slicks for a few hours in the afternoon. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa topped the timesheet ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who were second and third respectively. More importantly, the premier-class rookies were finally afforded the chance to pull the throttle on their new machines.
Fastest among the newbies was Pedrosa’s teammate Marc Marquez, who settled into seventh on the 27th of 28 laps. The Honda rider put in seven initial laps before returning to the pit to give feedback, and soon after he was back aboard the bike learning how to settle wheelies on the straights and gain speed through the turns.
“In the beginning it was quite difficult but very nice to feel the power of the bike,” said Marquez. “I had a lot of wheelie on the straights but I gradually gained confidence on each exit and got faster and faster on every run. I tried to adapt my riding style from Moto2 because there was quite a big difference. There are many things to improve and try, the front tire was also very different to what I’m used to but the main thing is that we have had good start and I have a very good feeling with the team.”
Cal Crutchlow (35) followed his new teammate Bradley Smith for a few laps to give the premier-class rookie some pointers during the second day of testing at Valencia.
Marquez’s enthusiasm was exceeded by that of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith, who was one of the first riders to hit the track, posting laps with wet tires early in the day before the track had dried. After 16 laps he returned to the pit and by the afternoon was able to post 27 more laps on the slicks. He ended the day with the 11th-fastest time.
“Today was a fantastic moment in my career and it is great to finally get chance to test the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 bike,” said Smith. “Today more than made up for yesterday’s disappointment when I couldn’t ride because of the weather and it actually worked out great for me because I rode in the wet and dry, and this is brilliant to help me build up my experience. Obviously the bike is completely different to anything I have ridden before, but it is an unbelievable machine. The power is incredible and in the dry when I came on the straight for the first time, I just had a huge smile. The level of technology is really impressive but I was able to consistently improve my time with every run and I am leaving very satisfied with my performance and confident in my potential for the future.”
While Smith’s 43 total laps were close to the most run by a single rider during the second day of testing, the top honor went to another former Moto2 rider, Andrea Iannone of Pramac Ducati. Iannone put in 56 laps throughout the day and finished ninth, 1.759 seconds off the top time set by Pedrosa.
Notably absent were the Yamaha Factory duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. After the first disappointing day Yamaha announced that the two would leave Valencia to try their luck at Motorland Aragon. The move proved to be unfruitful though as the mixed conditions persisted at Aragon, making it impossible to log a full-day’s dry test. Lorenzo was able to squeeze in a few dry laps before the rains returned and went out again to test in the wet after lunch. The Mallorcan ran into trouble though since excess rubber was on track from a car testing session the previous day, making conditions especially difficult and contributing to a low-side crash that ended his day. He was uninjured in the incident. Yamaha PR didn’t comment on whether Rossi hit the track or not.
Andrea Dovizioso continued to break in his new Desmosedici during the second day of testing at Valencia.
Rossi’s former teammate, Nicky Hayden, notched the fourth-fastest time at Valencia, followed by Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista in fifth. Andrea Dovizioso, new to the Ducati team, placed sixth and was disappointed that weather continued to frustrate his ability to test the bike in dry conditions.
“We only had about an hour and a half and it was pretty overcast, with wet patches, so the conditions were difficult for my first impression in the dry,” said Dovizioso. “It wasn’t the occasion to try lots of changes, so we weren’t able to set the bike up perfectly. Still, the lap time is quite good, and so is the feeling. Of course it’s always a big change to switch bikes, and it takes time to understand. Hopefully we’ll have good weather for the test in Jerez.”
Michele Pirro placed eighth, riding for Pramac Racing while Ben Spies recovers from injuries sustained late in the 2012 season. Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet finished the day in ninth and Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham scored 12th. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti, Avintia Blusens’ Hiroshi Aoyama and Paul Bird Motorsports’ Shane Byrne opted out of running any laps.
2013 MotoGP Season Test Day 2 Results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’32.322
2. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’32.671
3. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’32.813
4. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’32.956
5. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’33.109
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’33.238
7. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’33.403
8. Michele Pirro (Ducati) 1’33.625
9. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’33.833
10. Randy de Puniet (ART) 1’34.081
11. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’34.538
12. Karel Abraham (ART) 1’35.309
13. Danilo Petrucci (Suter) 1’35.403
14. Hector Barbera (BQR) 1’39.248
15. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1’43.517