Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was pleased with the pace of his RC213V in Friday’s brief dry running, but was even happier with its performance in the full wet condition of FP2.
The Spaniard joined a number of riders in the closing stages of FP1 in fitting a set of slicks for a time attack, and was able to jump up the order to second with a 1m38.755s, a position that remained unchallenged on the combined timesheets thanks to heavy rain in the afternoon.
Despite forecasts predicting the rest of the weekend to be dry, Marquez seized the opportunity the weather presented to work his wet set-up. Initially not too comfortable, a few changes for his second run in FP2 helped him greatly and he was able to go second quickest again, missing out on top spot by under half a tenth of a second.
“It’s positive to have started well today, as here in Le Mans it’s important to be ready for any kind of condition,” the Spaniard said.
“This morning there were mixed conditions with the track drying towards the end, allowing us to do the last exit on slicks. The feeling was good already, but the most important thing was to be able to be fast in full wet in FP2.
“We worked a bit on the rain setting and in our second run I started to feel really good on the bike. We’ll see how the conditions are tomorrow; it looks like it will be dry and I hope that’s actually the case because it seems that the race will be a dry one and it will be important to set up the bike well.”
For 2017, the Le Mans circuit underwent a much-needed resurfacing, and the new tarmac has been praised by 125cc and MotoGP French Grand Prix winner Marquez.
Despite only mainly running in the wet, the Spaniard praised the new surface’s ability to offer high grip levels, though did admit that getting temperature into the tyres is not quite as easy as it used to be.
“The new surface is incredible, at least from what we could see in the wet,” he said.
“The grip is very good and even if it’s not easy to put temperature in the tyres, when you do get it you can be really fast.”
It was the low temperatures and slight difficulty in building heat in the tyres on the new surface that hindered team-mate Dani Pedrosa on Friday. Despite the best efforts of his team, a fix could not be found to his issue and he ended the day 14th overall on 1m41.854s.