Honda faces tough MotoGP pre-season says Marc Marquez

Honda faces a tough MotoGP pre-season after a difficult start to testing at Sepang, reckons Marc Marquez

Honda faces tough MotoGP pre-season says Marc Marquez

The 2013/14 champion was only seventh on day one of winter running at the Malaysian Grand Prix venue, 1.6 seconds off the pace set by Jorge Lorenzo's Yamaha up front.

Marquez's team-mate Dani Pedrosa was third quickest, 1.096s down on the dominant Lorenzo but within 0.063s of second-placed Valentino Rossi on the other Yamaha.

"We still have a lot of work to do, as we have new electronics, a new engine and a few different engine specs to what we used in Valencia and Jerez back in November," Marquez said.

"It's true that neither my place on the timesheet or laptime today are great, but this is going to be a long pre-season in which we will have to work hard on many different things. We'll see if we can improve tomorrow."

One of Honda's main issues in the 2015 season was its engine's aggressive power delivery, and the team's options for managing this have been reduced with the change to control electronics for this year.

Pedrosa added: "Today we had to work very hard on several things. The positive part is that Honda know this and are working on things in Japan.

"Using my experience I am giving my all to try to provide them with as much information as possible, and advance in every area possible.

"We shall see if we can finish the test with a better feeling than when we started."

'EASY' START FOR LORENZO

Lorenzo was delighted with the Yamaha's performance on the latest iteration of the Michelin tyres that replace Bridgestone for 2016.

"I'm very happy and surprised about the feeling I had today with the Michelin tyres," he said.

"The laptimes were relatively easy to achieve and every time we exited pitlane we improved something on the bike to understand the electronics better and they adapted very well to the Michelin tyres.

"I'm very happy with the change, because Sepang, for me, is always difficult."

His performance was achieved despite illness limiting his running.

"Today I only slept two hours because of the jetlag and I have a sore throat so I'm taking antibiotics," he added.

"My physical condition is not perfect, but to ride two or three laps, I can do that very well. If I was fitter I could do longer stints."

Though he admitted the one-second gap to Lorenzo was "too big", Rossi was encouraged by his affinity with the Michelins and electronics after being concerned in late 2015.

"I'm quite happy because the electronics already work quite well," he said,

"We're not at the same level as last year, but it's already good to ride the bike and especially the Michelin front tyre improved a lot, so the feeling when you ride the bike is more similar to last year."

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