MotoGP: Marc Marquez Begins 2014 Testing — New Bike In Valencia

New World Champion , with a new bike and new helmet, rounds the bend during testing in Valencia. (Photo: Getty Images)

On a busy day at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, 20 riders took to the track on the second day of post-GP testing, with new World Champion Marc Marquez ending the session as the fastest rider.

The team had not tested on Monday, but Marquez and both had full days on Tuesday comparing the new 2014 Honda with their existing machines and completing nearly 150 laps between them.

Marquez topped the timesheet for almost the entirety of the seven hour practice, notching an early fast time and reducing it to 1:30.536 late in the afternoon on his 75th and penultimate lap. The youngest ever premier class title winner survived a remarkable moment early in the afternoon, saving a crash with his left elbow and knee on turn 6.

Monday’s fastest rider, Jorge Lorenzo, improved significantly on his best time from yesterday (1:31.257) to register a 1:30.768 fastest effort, with Tuesday’s top times comparing favorably to Sunday’s best race lap — Pedrosa’s 1:31.628.

Of course, this is testing, with new engines, fresh tires available and potentially more grip on track, but Marquez and Lorenzo continue to set the standards.

Pedrosa was third best overall, with his best time coming in at 0.4s off his young teammate’s pace-setting mark. The top three riders all registered their sharpest times on the 2014 versions of their respective machines.

LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl (+.454) and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista (+.672) ensured there were four Hondas in the top five at the conclusion of the day’s activity.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith had a solid end to the 2013 season, and he was the second fastest Yamaha rider on Tuesday, testing a 2014 M1 chassis with a 2013 engine and finishing 0.861s off Marquez. His team boss Herve Poncharal says his target in the coming year will be to match his departing colleague Cal Crutchlow’s 2013 form.

Factory Yamaha Racing’s Valentino Rossi will look to improve things working with new crew chief Silvano Galbusera as winter testing continues, having ended the day seventh, 0.878s below the pace, not improving on his Monday time.

The fastest Ducati rider on track was Andrea Dovizioso in eighth place, over a second off P1 with his new teammate Crutchlow in 11th, a further 0.3s behind. Dovizioso improved his Monday best, while Crutchlow was a fraction slower than Monday.

The Ducati Team will introduce its 2014 machines at Sepang in February. The performance of the new bike will also be of interest to Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone who was 10th best on Tuesday overall.

Moto2 champion Pol Espargaro brings talent and enthusiasm to the Tech 3 project. He was delighted to try the YZR-M1 on Monday, and on Tuesday he got more accustomed to the bike, improving his pace by 1.351s and getting 66 more laps under his belt.

Further down the timesheet in 13th was Nicky Hayden, riding for the first time with his new team Power Electronics Aspar on the RCV1000R, lapping 2.04s off the P1 pace, but 0.444s quicker than new colleague Hiroshi Aoyama went Monday.

Aleix Espargaro (15th) worked with his new team NGM Mobile Forward Racing and new teammate Colin Edwards (17th), as they both lapped just over two seconds off Marquez’s pace, a decent effort for their first day on the new Yamaha FTR package.

Scott Redding’s left wrist is still healing from his devastating Australia crash and he also took heavy knocks in the pileup in Japan, so he was only able to lap 22 times on the GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R.

An additional novelty was Randy de Puniet on the PBM ART machine, also lapping 22 times toward the bottom of the timesheet, in a guest appearance for the British-based outfit as they look to complete their plans for 2014.

Wednesday’s third and final day of testing at Valencia is another seven-hour session from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. local time.

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