Topping the timesheets during last week’s private Honda and Yamaha test at the new Circuit of the Americas in Texas wasn’t the only pleasing aspect for MotoGP rookie sensation Marc Marquez.
The 20-year-old dominated the test in Austin to finish comfortably ahead of Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, factory Yamaha duo Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi and German Stefan Bradl.
Lorenzo and Rossi might have packed up and left the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) at the end of day two but even at that stage they were struggling to match Marquez’s impressive pace on the factory Honda RC213V.
Marquez was thrilled with his performance at COTA, not least because he felt he had made a big breakthrough in improving braking stability.
That has been an issue for the reigning Moto2 world champion in previous winter test sessions in Malaysia and the Spainiard said he was also feeling more relaxed on the RC213V, which won 12 races in 2012 but not the world title.
He told MCN: “Before I was quite stiff, especially in Malaysia, I was stiff on the bike and in particular in the braking points. I started to play on the bike a bit and also I was quite free and this is important. I’m less stiff but it doesn’t mean I will be slower or faster. But when you are more free it is easier to keep a good lap time.
My crew were asking if I could change the weight for the braking stability but I said at the moment I can’t because I don’t have the confidence. But here (COTA) I started to do it and I felt much better on the bike. But I still need many laps to get that confidence like I had in Moto2. I was consistent because I had a very good pace and I felt so good on the bike and this makes the work easier. If you don’t have a good feeling with the bike it is impossible to be consistent with the lap time.”
Marquez played down the chances of him being favourite to win the second race of the season at COTA on April 21 but admitted attending the test would make his job easier than most of the field who will arrive in Texas next month with the complex task of learning the track.
He added: “I think it was important to be here because with the physical condition for this track you struggle a little bit because you need to push a lot in the first part with all the changes of direction. But now we know the track and this is important and also we find a good base for when we come for the second race.”
For four pages of coverage from the Austin test in Texas, see the March 20 issue of Motor Cycle News.