WORLD champion Marc Marquez remained dominant when a three-day pre-season MotoGP test session ended last week, signaling that the young Spaniard plans a spirited defense of his crown this year.
The Honda rider ended the final day of testing with a blistering new pace-setting lap at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit.
The 20-year-old was the fastest out of 26 riders for the third straight day with a best lap of 1 minute, 59.533 seconds—beating the unofficial track record set in 2012 by former world champ Casey Stoner. Marquez last year became the youngest rider ever to win the world title, and the first rookie to win in 35 years.
No premier-class rider has won the MotoGP title back-to-back since 2009.
Hot on Marquez’s heels at Sepang was his rival, Yamaha’s nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, who managed to resolve braking woes with his bike. Jorge Lorenzo, a two-time MotoGP champion, came third.
Rossi was 0.194 seconds behind Marquez while Lorenzo was another 0.333 seconds back.
Dani Pedrosa, who is seeking to capture an elusive first MotoGP world title, was sixth—0.690 seconds behind teammate Marquez.