The final day of the last test of the pre-season dawned sunny and dry but quite windy in Qatar. Marc Marquez headed out on the track soon after 3 pm. followed shortly by teammate Dani Pedrosa.
Both riders used these three days to finalize their preparation for the start of the 2018 season and to work on the race setup of their RC213V. For the first time, they also had the chance to ride in the wet at the Losail Circuit, as race direction organized a special test for the final hour, artificially soaking the track.
Marc completed a 10-lap mini long run and a total of 75 laps, with a best time of 1’54.591” on lap 75 to finish sixth fastest for the day. Dani ended in 11th place with a best time of 1’54.774” on lap 29 of 44.
The team will now fly back to Europe for two weeks but will return on track at Losail on Friday, 16 March, for the first practice of the Qatar GP (2.45 – 3.30 p.m., local time).
I’m satisfied with how our pre-season went in general. We’ve worked a lot on our race pace, which is the most important thing in the end. It’s true that we’ve struggled a bit here in Qatar, but we’re happy anyway, as today in particular we took a step forward and I was able to lap consistently enough in the low-to-medium 1’55” range. Today we also tried the carbon swing arm in just one run, and I managed to ride quite fast, though we need to work more on that. For sure the championship will be very competitive starting at the first race, but I hope to enjoy it. Regarding the test in the wet, well, with the reflection of the light it’s a bit more difficult than usual to see the kerbs and the white line, and the track is a bit slippery, but for me it should be possible to do the race if it rains.
I’m quite happy with the pre-season overall, with the work we’ve done, and with our pace. We’ve been competitive in different conditions, which is positive. Unfortunately, the crash on the first day made things a bit difficult for us here, and the track itself is also a bit demanding for us, but we made some progress and improved our pace a little anyway. We’re not the fastest here at the moment, but we worked well and understood a lot about the conditions and how the track changes between having grip and not having it. We learned a lot about these things. Now we have to focus on ourselves, not looking at the others, and I think we can take another step for the race. I look forward to starting the championship! Regarding the wet test, I think that in case of rain for the race, we’ll have to speak and decide all together.