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Rain has cut short the final day of the private test at the Sepang International Circuit for Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Márquez and Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista.
After a heavy downpour the night before the track took a while to dry out with an ambient temperature of 31 degrees Celsius and 66% humidity. Yet this did not deter Márquez from heading out on track for the third day in succession, as he continued his work on setting up his bike, and trying out various things with the 2013 spec bike. The day was however cut short with heavy rain coming down after lunch, meaning that the Spaniard’s best time of 2.01’56 after 41 laps was his final of the day. His time from the second day, a 2.01’355, remains the quickest of all riders across the three days.
He said: "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 11.45am. 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 4.30pm. 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!"
Bautista was initially side-lined as Honda test-rider Kousuke Akiyoshi took to the track on the Showa-clad Gresini machine, to give a second opinion for the HRC engineers. Later on, the Spaniard was back on the Malaysian circuit evaluating the Showa suspension and Nissin brakes. Bautista, like Márquez, set his fastest time on the second day, with his 2.02’15 from day three marginally slower than the time that sees him placed second across the test, a 2.01’950. He had been set to try the 2013 spec Honda in the afternoon, yet with the rain coming down this was not possible. The team later announced that they would be sticking with the Showa suspension for the 2013 season.
He commented: “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. 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.”
Akiyoshi, apart from his brief run-out on the Gresini bike, continued his work on the engine and chassis configurations of the 2013 spec RC213V, while other test rider Takumi Takahashi was also putting in the laps on the same specification machine, whist increasing his experience in MotoGP. They both set their fastest times on day three, with Akiyoshi ending the test in third with a 2.03’30 and Takahashi in fourth with a 2.06’32.
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