Wednesday, 5 February 2014 | MYT 9:19 PM

Marquez scorches again in Sepang pre-season testing

Defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez in action on the second day of pre-season testing at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) on Feb 5, 2014.

Defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez in action on the second day of pre-season testing at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) on Feb 5, 2014.

SEPANG: World champion Marc Marquez set the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) tracks ablaze when he again posted the fastest lap time on the second day of MotoGP pre-season testing.

The Honda rider stopped the clock at 1:59.926 just before the break at 2pm, to be the only rider to dip below 2:00. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa was second fastest on 2:00.336 while Stefan Bradl of LCR Honda clocked in third on 2:00.339.

“We have improved stability under braking, which is something I have been finding a little difficult, but in the end we found a good compromise,” said Marquez.

Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi improved by a small margin from Tuesday to clock 2:00.464 in fourth place. Yamaha’s Open class Aleix Espargaro of NGM Mobile Forward sat in fifth (2:00.547) ahead of Jorge Lorenzo of Yamaha (2:00.573).

Bradl, the 2011 Moto2 champion, said he was aiming to improve his lap time from Tuesday and was relieved to be able to do so. On Tuesday, Bradl stopped the clock at 2:01.320.

“The objective today was to push for a lower lap time. We haven’t put on any new parts yet for the test and maybe tomorrow we will.

“We will try to push very hard tomorrow. For sure we had a good lap time today but we can see the top guys like Marquez and Pedrosa are posting faster times. It is going to be a difficult season but we will try hard,” said the German.

However, it was a different mood behind the Ducati pit as Cal Crutchlow, who had a brilliant season on board a Yamaha last season where he finished fifth overall, was 12th fastest.

Ducati seem to be on a downward spiral after last season. Crutchlow clocked 2:01.396 while team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was in 11th spot on 2:01.146.

Last season, Ducati failed to land a podium finish. This year, Crutchlow and Dovizioso are riding on a totally new developed bike.

“I can’t say that I could ride it anywhere near what I could with the Yamaha last season. It is a bit difficult to adapt but we are aggressively working to get it right,” said a solemn Crutchlow.

However, things are not set in stone yet for Ducati, as they might register themselves in the Open class before the season starts in Qatar on March 23.

Contrary to the factory production racers, Open class teams can opt for a bigger fuel capacity (24 litres to factory’s 20) and 12 engines throughout the year (five for factory). The engines are open for development while the factory-owned ones are not.

Feb 28 is the deadline for teams to register as factory or Open class teams.

Tags / Keywords: motorsports , motor racing , MotoGP , Marc Marquez , Valentino Rossi , Aleix Espargaro , Jorge Lorenzo , Stefan Bradl , Dani Pedrosa , Cal Crutchlow , Andrea Dovizioso , Yamaha , Ducati , Honda , Sepang


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