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GP Week : Issue 195
MOTOGP >>> nEWs MARQUEZ DOMINATES AS NEW BIKES HIT THE TRACK The official 2014 season began the day after the flag fell for the final round of 2013 – with several riders sampling new bikes, but a familiar name at the top of the time-sheets. It was Marc Marquez. The champion was on top by a third of a second, with his fastest run on the third day, after giving the first of the three a miss, riding the 2014 prototype, using HRC software with the new control Magneti Marelli ECU hardware. His time of 1’30.287 was within five hundredths of his pole time for the race. “The important thing is we collected a lot data for Honda to work on over the winter” he said, before returning home finally to celebrate his landmark victory. Bradley Smith was a surprise second overall, using the 2013 factory tank-seat combination and finding it much to his liking. “It really suited my style,” he said. Monster Yamaha team-mate Crutchlow had been given the revised weight distribution after the summer break, but had never got on with it. Lorenzo headed the first day, but went home after the second, with not much to test – he ended up third-fastest; from Stefan Bradl, Dani Pedrosa and Alvaro Bautista. Rossi was seventh-fastest, working with his new crew chief Silvano Galbusera, and the first rider a full second slower than Marquez. He also missed day three. Less than two-tenths slower, Pol Espargaro made his acquaintance with MotoGP with three impressive days on a Tech 3 machine. Next year he will join Smith in the team in place of Crutchlow, making for strong rivalry between the two. His brother Aleix was making his debut on the leaded Yamaha for the NGM For ward team, still awaiting its full FTR chassis. He was two places lower, the brothers sandwiching top Ducati runner Iannone. There were two of the new RCV1000R production-racer Hondas for three riders, and they placed lower down the order: Hayden the best in 14th, with Aspar team-mate Aoyama next. Redding, still injured, was 20th after also missing day three. 17 GPWEEK.com // 17 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: