Marc Marquez was once again the fastest during day two of the private Honda and Yamaha test at COTA.
The Repsol Honda rookie was the first out on track this morning, and immediately posted a lap time of 2’04.836 just a few tenths from his best lap of yesterday.
He continued to improve as did everyone else and just before lunch he posted a 2′04.363, which was two and half tenths faster than his day one time, and then in the afternoon dropped under the 2.04 barrier, with a 2′03.853, which proved unbeatable for the other riders, who have a combined 16 world titles between them.
“Today we continued along the same line as yesterday, we tried to find the best gearbox, the best electronic settings and the best geometry on this track,” said Marquez.
“Especially in the beginning the track was quite slippery. I didn’t expect that, as I thought that after yesterday the grip would be better, but then lap by lap it was better and for this afternoon I think it will be good.
“To be consistent is very difficult because it has many hard braking points and it’s tough to stay concentrated and always brake at the same point. When we are on the track and ride with the other riders, like Stefan, Valentino, Lorenzo and Dani, you need to pay attention.
“You can’t show what is your line, what it the best line, because then they can learn something. But also when I try to follow them they close…so I do the same thing.”
Once again second place belonged to Marquez’s team mate Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa was much more competitive and and in his last hot lap managed to get much closer to Marquez, finishing the day a little more than a tenth of a second behind his rookie team mate.
“I’m just doing more laps. That’s it,” said Pedrosa.
“The grip is very similar to yesterday, so I’m just getting used to doing some changes on the gearbox to feel a little bit more comfortable through the corners with the gears. Also we’re trying some changes on the suspension. But as this is not a reference place for us, or anybody, it’s hard to judge if you change some things on the bike.
“It’s really hard to judge [Bridgestone tyre performance], as there are only five bikes riding and not much rubber on the ground. Today we’ll be trying some new things, but basically the grip is so low that it’s hard to go harder on the specs.”
In third position was World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard wasn’t too happy with his results, and was disappointed with the lack of grip and had a problem keeping the front wheel down.
Speaking at the conclusion of the day Lorenzo said, “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. 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.
“We have been trying different set ups of the bike, no new parts, just playing with the set up, changing the suspension and forks and in the last run I improved half a second with set up changes.
“We still don’t have enough grip on the rear so we can’t lean over with confidence which is why we are further behind than in Sepang. I am adapting my riding style every lap a little for the track. In the main straight we are at 340kmh/h which is an amazing speed; when you have to brake and put your helmet up the wind is very strong so it’s difficult to be stable.”
In fourth position was LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl. The 2011 Moto2 World Champion didn’t have the pace to run with the factory riders, however he impressed aboard his LCR coloured spec RC213V.
In fifth position, and posting the most laps out of the riders present was Valentino Rossi, who is still adjusting to life back on the M1.
“The feeling with the track improved today, we started to work on the bike to improve the difficult points, especially in the three very hard braking areas where it is important to have good stability,” said Valentino Rossi.
“It’s also very important to have grip on the edge through the hairpin to have speed along the straight. It looks like you can make a big difference in the slow parts here. The chicane part in turn two is very technical and difficult as it is blind; you have to go a bit with memory.
“Step by step we improved a lot from yesterday but have some disadvantage compared to the other guys so we need to put all the sections together. The target was to come here and try to understand the track and try to be ready for the race.
“Our competitors are able to accelerate faster than us from the hairpin and they have a bit more grip on the edge compared to us so these are the areas where we have to work, in the flowing parts we are not so bad.
“The track is good, a very classical Tilke’ track, I like the fast parts, turn two and turn ten especially. There is lots of hard braking and it is very wide so good for overtaking. The long right before the last two lefts is also good. It’s fun and not too hot like it is in Sepang so it’s a good place to make a motorcycle race.”
MotoGP Austin Day 2 results:
1 MARQUEZ M.Repsol Honda Team 2’03.853
2 PEDROSA D.Repsol Honda Team 2’03.976
3 LORENZO J.Yamaha Factory Racing Team 2’04.351
4 BRADL S.LCR Honda MotoGP 2’04.640
5 ROSSI V.Yamaha Factory Racing Team 2’04.9602