The second day of MotoGP testing at the Valencia circuit got off to a slow start on Wednesday as a wet track stopped the majority of the grid heading out, yet with two hours left a dry enough line had formed for Dani Pedrosa to set the fastest time of the day and for all MotoGP newcomers to make their debut.
Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Márquez, one of the most hotly anticipate switches this year, made an instant impact on his first ever outing on a MotoGP machine, as he set the seventh quickest time of the day, just over one second off the top. His teammate Pedrosa, who was the first out on track with slick tires, was evaluating the 2013 Honda against the one he raced with last Sunday. He topped the day with the fastest time of 1:32.322.
“In the end we were lucky because after almost two days doing nothing due to the bad weather we were able to go out on track for two hours and do the basic work we needed to do to have the first feelings on the new bike,” Pedrosa said. “It’s been a useful test for me; I started with the bike I raced on Sunday and then switched to next year’s bike. It’s basically the same but with more weight to adapt it to the new regulation for 2013. We had pretty good feedback and now the engineers will check the data and analyze if we need to move something on the bike to better adapt to the extra weight – I could feel it on braking and also on the straight.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith was the first rookie out on track in the morning as he made his debut on the M1 Yamaha. The Brit looked pleased with his first outing, and ended the afternoon in 11th, just over two seconds off the front. His teammate Cal Crutchlow, still nursing an injury in his hand from his crash on the weekend, took to the track with just under an hour remaining to evaluate some minor upgrades on his Yamaha, finishing in second place overall.
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl was lapping on a similar machine to Pedrosa, the new 2013 model, where the only significant difference is the electronics package. It was however announced that the German will continue with his team in the 2014 season as well, although the bike will be a “full factory” version. He finished the day third fastest.
Ducati Team’s new-boy Andrea Dovizioso continued to familiarize himself with the Desmosedici on day two, finishing sixth, while teammate Nicky Hayden carried on his work evaluating new parts and chassis settings and ending the session in fourth.
Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista was pleased the track dried out in time, as the Spaniard set out evaluating his 2012 machine against an upgraded version with some new parts. Bautista was fifth fastest.
Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Iannone had been one of the riders to brave the wet track in the morning, yet continued with his familiarization process in the afternoon, ending the timesheets in ninth. New Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, in for the injured Ben Spies, was well on the pace once the track dried out and finished in eighth place.
Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró, who was one of the busiest riders out on track in the morning, put in a number of laps early on, while teammate Randy de Puniet was more active in the afternoon in the dry, as both continued work on their respective chassis. Espargaró ended the day in 15th and De Puniet in 10th.
Elsewhere, the Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi had a difficult session at their test in Aragón, which was marred with rain and a crash for Lorenzo. Lorenzo was fortunately unhurt in the crash. Rossi commented afterwards that he was happy with the bike, and that apart from the increase in power, not much had changed from the last time he rode the 800cc bike in 2010.