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Marquez sets the first 1:29 lap of Chang International Circuit

Written by  Feb 17, 2018

Marc Marquez celebrated his 25th birthday in style at the #ThaiTest, leaving it late to set the first ever sub-1:30 laptime of Buriram quite a way through a mammoth 90+ lap workload for the six-time World Champion.

That took the top spot back from teammate Dani Pedrosa, who ended the day second fastest and a tenth and a half down after having led for the majority of the latter stages of the session. Third was another stunning lap from Jack Miller, who was 0.058 off Pedrosa as he continues his run of top performance in 2018.

One of the big headlines on Saturday was once again aero. Part of Marquez’ 94 laps in the incredible heat of Thailand was spent on an aero package, with the number 93, teammate Pedrosa and HRC test rider Cal Crutchlow – Friday’s fastest – all having tried updates across the Sepang and Thai tests.

Behind the lockout for the Repsol squad at the top, Crutchlow was the third quickest Honda and was eighth, but quicker than his Friday lap. The Brit concentrated on test duty rather than a time attack.

Miller, meanwhile, continued to show how he’s settled into life on the Ducati GP17. By the end of action, a late run from the Australian saw him shoot ahead of teammate Danilo Petrucci – who is on a GP18 and on Ducati test duty, and who ended the day in P6 after hovering further up earlier in the day.

Fourth and fifth were locked out by Yamaha – on Saturday, Maverick Viñales led Johann Zarco after Valentino Rossi had been the quicker rider on Friday. Viñales’ best was a 1:30.274, with Zarco just 0.086 behind. Viñales had a more difficult morning before making a big step in the afternoon – aiming to confirm it on Day 3.

Alex Rins, after going second quickest on the first day of the test, was seventh on Day 2 and again top Hamamatsu machine. Starting 2018 healthy after injury problems last year, the Spanish sophomore did around half a century of laps and tried new aero from Suzuki, with the factory fielding the fairing they’d previously had as well as longer and shorter version of a new package. Both Rins and teammate Andrea Iannone, who ended the day in eleventh but only three tenths back on Rins, tried the updates – and both crashed, but with no consequences.

The Ducati Team, meanwhile, moved on with the program. They have three aero fairings at Buriram as well as a chassis update and continued working on them. On Day 2 Andrea Dovizioso was ninth and teammate Jorge Lorenzo tenth. ‘DesmoDovi’ was just 0.004 off Crutchlow ahead of him and two tenths ahead of Lorenzo, with the Italian putting in over 70 laps and the Spaniard more than 50.

Two more Independent Team riders on Ducatis took P12 and P13, with Reale Avinta Racing’s Tito Rabat ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) by only 0.028. Both were ahead of Valentino Rossi, who ended the second day in fourteenth.

Takaaki Nakagami completed the top fifteen on Saturday, fastest rookie once again and the last man in the 1:30 bracket. He had a three tenth advantage on key rival Franco Morbidelli, with the reigning Moto2 World Champion doing a best of 1:31.185. His teammate Tom Lüthi did a 1:31.994, with the Sepang test having been his first time on the bike – and he ended the day just ahead of Hafizh Syahrin and Xavier Simeon.

Syahrin, on a MotoGP machine for only the second day ever, was impressive once again on Saturday. The Malaysian rider was only 0.004 seconds off fellow rookie Lüthi, and was ahead of Simeon by the end of action.

source: motogp.com

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