Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista concluded the final day of testing at Sepang, with the session affected once again by intermittent rain showers. Rain the night before left a damp track in the morning, though Marquez was intent on logging laps so went out to try a variety of set-ups. The entire session was called off later in the day after heavy showers started to fall in the afternoon.
Marquez was able to put in 41 laps before the test was halted and left feeling much more comfortable on the RC213V.
“At the beginning of the day the track was slightly wet from last night’s rain, the same as yesterday morning, so we didn’t go on track until 11:45 a.m.,” said Marquez. “We tested many things today, we knew that some wouldn’t work but it gives us an idea and direction for the testing here in February next year. In the end I am very happy because my lap time was pretty constant and I feel a good rhythm on the bike now. We planned a long run at the end of the day but then the rain arrived again around 4:30 p.m.
“Physically, I’m happy —for sure I need to do some work now in the winter to arrive at the next test stronger and fitter but in general I feel good, even on the longer run of 10 laps today, the lap time was consistent and I felt strong. It’s been a good test and I feel we have improved each day, now we must wait a few months until we are back here with everyone else.”
Alvaro Bautista decided to remain in partnership with Showa during 2013 after testing a host of products at Sepang.
Bautista remained in the garage for a period early on to allow Honda test-rider Kousuke Akiyoshi to ride the Showa-equipped machine in order to give HRC engineers a second opinion. Over the three days Bautista logged a total of 110 laps and came away with the decision to remain in partnership with Showa for 2013.
“We have done a lot of work over the past three days despite the bizarre weather, which only relented for a day, and the less than perfect track conditions,” said Bautista. “I have completed 110 laps altogether and now we have a clearer idea of the direction we need to take in the first preseason tests of 2013. I am satisfied and feel I am heading home safe in the knowledge that next season promises some good results for our team.”
Team manager Fausto Gresini added, “What we have learned here is that Showa are working in the right direction and can offer us the support that we need. The job we have done together over three days here has been positive and at the end of it we have taken the decision to continue our technical collaboration with Showa in 2013. I am happy and satisfied with this choice and also grateful for the support that HRC continues to give us. I am convinced that next season we will have a very competitive motorcycle.”
Testing Starts at Jerez
Another set of MotoGP riders gathered at Jerez for the first of a planned three-day test at the Spanish circuit. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden is charged with testing two different chassis and a new swingarm during the sessions, and he got straight to work on Day 1, posting a fastest lap time of 1’40.855. His teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, had intentions of putting in a full day of testing, but after two laps was sidelined due to a recurring issue. He spent the rest of the day in a neck-brace in the garage.
Satellite Ducati riders Andrea Iannone and Michele Pirro of Pramac Racing were also on hand to test electronic settings and help improve feeling on the Desmosedici. Pirro continues to fill in for the injured Ben Spies who has been out since suffering a heavy fall during the final rounds of 2012. Iannone is preparing for his rookie season in the premier-class and ended with the third-fastest time of the day at 1’41.834.
Representing the CRT effort were Hiroshi Aoyama and Hector Barbera of Avintia Blusens, who spent the day working to improve the performance of their BQR-FTR machines.