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November 19, 2013 | By MotoGP.com
This week’s crucial Valencia MotoGP test concluded on Wednesday afternoon with new World Champion Marc Marquez the top man again.
After trying three different prototypes on Tuesday as he set the best time, Marquez worked on his 2014 bike on the final day of the test – finishing at the head of the list of 14 riders present with a best lap of 1’30.287, just 0.05s off the time which gave him pole on Saturday.
With the arrival of Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaro on the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 box, Bradley Smith has a new motivation for the 2014 season – to be faster than his talented new teammate. Smith was quick on Wednesday in testing, his 1’30.598 the second best of the day and 0.6s better than his Saturday qualifying time.
Espargaro impressed again in sixth, less than a second behind Smith as he concluded his first MotoGP test.
Stefan Bradl was third, 0.27s down on Smith – fourth overall over the three days of the test, just marginally off third best rider Jorge Lorenzo who did not ride on Wednesday and put in his best time in Tuesday. Bradl made good use of the 2014 Honda as he tested it for the first time.
Dani Pedrosa had a busy day, also testing the 2014 machine and lapping fourth best on Wednesday and fifth overall, his fastest lap coming on Tuesday. Likewise Alvaro Bautista went quicker yesterday than today and was caught out on Wednesday by the new HRC machine for next season, crashing it on his eighth lap on the bike on Wednesday – though without serious consequences.
Just below Bautista and Pol Espargaro on Wednesday’s timesheet, Andrea Iannone was the fastest Ducati equipped rider on the timesheet with Pramac Racing, 1.3s off Marquez’ pace.
Aleix Espargaro did well on the new Forward Racing FTR Yamaha on just his second day on the bike, just outpacing the likes of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, and putting in 49 valuable laps on the new machine. Espargaro’s new teammate Colin Edwards did not test as he was already en route back to Texas for a well-earned winter break.
New Power Electronics Aspar riders Nicky Hayden (1’32.123 – 40 laps) and Hiroshi Aoyama (1’32.530 – 60 laps) put in a century of tours around the 4005m Ricardo Tormo track, gathering priceless data and experience with the new Honda RCV1000R.
Completing the timesheet was Paul Bird Motorsport rider Michael Laverty , 0.5s behind Aoyama as his team work on their strategy for the forthcoming season.
Some teams may test privately in the coming weeks, but after the Winter Test ban in December and January the 2014 MotoGP grid will back in action together at Sepang in the 2nd-4th February preseason tests.