Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli improved his lap time by almost a second during the final day of MotoGP testing at Jerez, to bring an incredibly successful 2017 season to a close.
The reigning Moto2 World Champion again focused on improving the bike from mid-corner to exit, working to increase his speed through the turns especially out of turns five and 13, which lead onto the two straights here in Jerez.
A methodical approach from Morbidelli and his crew saw the Italian make steady gains throughout the day, before setting his fastest time of the test, a 1'38.923, on his penultimate run with Michelin's soft tyre option.
Morbidelli will now head home to Italy from Jerez, after a brief stopover at the FIM Awards in Andorra, to enjoy some well-deserved downtime before returning to action on 28th January in Sepang, where he'll be joined by his 2018 Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS teammate, Tom Lüthi.
Álex Márquez also made a significant improvement to his lap time today, as he gained confidence in the Honda RC213V and Michelin tyres that he tested for the first time yesterday.
The former Moto3 World Champion improved with every pit exit today, as he worked to adapt his riding style to better suit the MotoGP machine, while his crew focused on finding a set up to keep the front wheel on the ground and improve drive out of the turns.
Márquez posted a time of 1'39.782 on his final run of the day, an improvement of almost two seconds compared to his best time from yesterday.
Franco Morbidelli: 1'38.923
"Today we saw an improvement in my lap time once I switched at the end of the day to the soft tyre, but we also saw a big improvement in my pace on the medium tyre, which I was happy about. Yesterday we were looking for more corner speed and today it seems we found it, which is where the improvement in the lap time came from mainly. It was a little bit from the bike and a little bit from me. That's how it seems to be working; I make a step then we make a step with bike and that demands another step from me. There is still a lot for me to learn and this learning process will continue next year in Sepang, but for now I'm satisfied with the progress made here and in Valencia. Having said that, I'm looking forward to getting to a fast, wide track like Sepang and letting the bike loose on a flowing circuit where you can use all the power."
Álex Márquez: 1'39.782
"Yesterday was the first opportunity to try the bike and to get to know the team, whereas today was more like a proper test. I enjoyed riding the bike today and we made a big step with the wheelie issue I had yesterday. It was much better in the turns, but I still had the problem on the straights because I was riding them in a straight line like on the Moto2 bike. If you look at Marc and Dani, or in fact all the MotoGP riders, they ride on the straights in a different way. I enjoyed the two days here in Jerez and I'm happy to have had this experience. I hope I've helped the team and that Tom will have it a little bit easier now when he returns from injury in Sepang. Now my focus is back on Moto2 and making sure I prepare fully for the 2018 season during the winter break."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"It's good to end what was a very successful season for us on a positive note and I think we've done that today. Franco showed herein Jerez that he could adapt his riding style while giving the feedback to his crew necessary to improve both his pace and his lap time. This will stand him in good stead when we return to testing in Sepang in January, where I'm confident he will make another big step in his progression to MotoGP rider. Big thanks to Álex for stepping in to replace Tom here in Jerez. There was no pressure on him at all, I just told him to enjoy the experience but he also showed his talent by making a big improvement in just one and half days on track. Overall a good test with which to end the season and head into a very welcome winter break, after which I'm looking forward to seeing Tom make his MotoGP debut in Sepang."
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