MotoGP 2023
Round 18

Repsol Honda Team focus on pace as Sepang weekend begins

my Sepang International Circuit

Lap times tumbled throughout a completely dry day at the Sepang International Circuit, both Marc Marquez and Joan Mir missing out on spots in the combined top ten as they finished 15th and 16th respectively.

Repsol Honda Team focus on pace as Sepang weekend begins

Hot and hard work began from the moment pit lane opened in the morning for the Repsol Honda Team as the ambient temperature sat above 30°C all day. As is always the case in Malaysia, there was a constant fear of afternoon rain, and the majority of teams and riders adjusted their plans to avoid any wet heartbreak. Without any rain falling, the battle for a pre-qualifying lap time would go down to the wire.

Marc Marquez was one of the first to strike in the afternoon session after a busy morning, moving into the top three almost immediately. Dropping under the 2’00 for the first time of the weekend, the #93 continued to work through his and the team’s plan for the day until the final ten minutes of the afternoon. Returning to attack mode for this last blitz, Marquez did his best to hold on to his position in the top ten. Taking 15th with a best time of 1’58.788, the eight-time World Champion will head for Q1 tomorrow. In 2022, Marquez secured third on the grid after passing through Q1, but the eight-time World Champion is the first to state a repetition of this will be difficult.

The Repsol Honda Team machine of Joan Mir was also in the running for the combined top ten in Sepang before ultimately ending one place behind his teammate with a best time of 1’58.902. Working with his Honda RC213V, the #36 aimed to improve his feeling with the bike and made gradual progress over the course of the day. Tucking in behind his teammate and Jorge Martin at the end of the afternoon session, Mir made a final attempt to improve into the top ten but would be unable to make any major gains.

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez 93
Repsol Honda Team
At some tracks we have the one lap speed and not the pace, but here it is the opposite, and our pace is quite good, but the one lap speed is not there. It was a day that we were expecting, so it is not a big surprise. I started both sessions well but couldn’t find that extra bit when we switched to the time attack. Qualifying will be very important, with two races starts this year, so I will keep giving my 100% to see what’s possible in Q1. 

Joan Mir
Joan Mir 36
Repsol Honda Team
It’s a pretty similar Friday to what we have had throughout the year honestly. It’s difficult to make big steps here, the grip changed a lot here over the course of the day and I felt pretty good with the second and third tyres we used in the afternoon. Tomorrow we will keep trying to improve and giving our all, hopefully we can be close to the spots moving into Q2. It will be important to see what the weather does as well. 

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