MotoGP world championship leader Marc Marquez delivered an eye-catching performance on Honda’s new 2014 factory RC213V machine in Misano yesterday (Monday) to top the timesheets at the end of a one-day test session.
The Spaniard did two runs on the new HRC V4 contender and it was in his final run right in the closing minutes of the day that he produced a best lap of 1.33.264 to move 0.238s clear of factory Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo.
The prime focus of the test for Marquez was to work on his current RC213V, with the 20-year-old just five races away from becoming the first rookie to lift the premier class title since Kenny Roberts in 1978.
But he was pleased to get a sample of the bike he will be campaigning in 2014 after Honda delivered a modified new RC213V to Misano after Marquez gave his first impressions of the new bike at the Motorland Aragon back in June.
He said: “The focus was to concentrate on the current bike but in two exits I tried the new bike in the middle of the day and the last exit to try and give my comments to HRC. We have improved the bike a lot from Aragon and I feel quite good with the bike. It still has some negative points but it was important to try. In Aragon I didn't like it a lot, especially brake points and also entry of the corner. But here we improve that aspect. It has some negative points compared to the current bike but it is important from Aragon to here we already made a step."
The 2014 RC213V is running the full spec it needs to comply with new regulations that will come into force next season, including a 20-litre fuel tank limit and standard Magneti Marelli ECU that works with Honda’s own software.
Marquez said he had not noticed any change in performance and he added: “The bike was set-up for the rules next year. Now we need to see during the race about the fuel consumption but sure we will need to take out a little bit of power to finish the race. Now I feel the same power and it is ready for the race. We also rode with the Marelli ECU and that too was important. There was not a big difference and not a big problem."
Marquez evaluated a new swingarm to try and help with rear stability under acceleration on his current bike, with the reigning Moto2 world champion holding a comfortable 34-point lead over Lorenzo and teammate Dani Pedrosa with less than a third of the season left to run.
“We find better corner exit and that is important. We worked a lot in that point because in the last races I had big movement in that area. In the entry of the corner I was still not 100% happy but we improved from the race. We did a good job but for the first part of the corner we need to find something, “he added.
The test wasn’t completely without mishap and Marquez did suffer a slow speed crash while experimenting with revised front-end geometry settings.
When asked by MCN to explain the small fall he said: “I was on the current bike and I tried a completely different geometry in the front and on the first lap in the slowest corner I released the brake and I was down immediately. I was probably only doing 30mph and I stopped and said take out this setting!”