Valentino Rossi fans aren’t going to like this, but Marc Marquez is considered the best motorcycle rider in the world today. Don’t take it out on me because I’m probably not the only one who believes this. Besides, Marquez is the two-time defending MotoGP world champion, having won his two titles in his first two years in the series. He’s still got a ways to go to match Rossi’s nine titles, but he’s well on his way to doing it.

Recently, Marquez added to his growing legend by posting the fastest ever time on two wheels around Malaysia’s Sepang circuit. In case you’re wondering, Marquez’s lap time of 1.58:867 is the fastest any one’s ever gone around Sepang in a motorcycle. Oh, and the record time of 1.59:533 that he beat? Yeah, that was his, too.

The reigning champion’s remarkable record was posted during Repsol Honda’s three-day test run around the circuit ahead of the opening of the 2015 MotoGP season. His partner, Dani Pedrosa, wasn’t too bad himself, recording a personal best time of 1.59:006, only 0.139 seconds off of Marquez’s new record time.

While the purpose of the test run is pretty obvious, Marquez posting a record time is the kind of morale boosting effort the team needs ahead of its own title defense this coming season. If both Marquez and Pedrosa can continue clocking lap times like they did during the Sepang test session, it’s going to be very difficult for other teams to be able to compete against these guys.

Click past the jump to read more about Marc Marquez’s record-setting lap time.

Why it matters

It’s perfectly understandable for some people to still scoff at the accomplishments of Marc Marquez in MotoGP. I’ve heard it numerous times from a lot of people who believe that his success in the racing series is solely attributed to having a superior bike than the rest of the field. Those were the same complaints Sebastian Vettel received when he won his four straight Formula One world titles.

But just because you think it’s all about the bike, that doesn’t mean Marc Marquez lacks the requisite skill to succeed in MotoGP. By all accounts, the kid has been as good as advertised, having pretty much won in every motorcycle level he’s competed in. That’s not the kind of thing that happens to riders that have little talent. That’s the kind of thing that happens to riders with a lot of talent.

Marc Marquez is the real deal, ladies and gentlemen. You may not like the way he has dominated MotoGP the past two years, but rest assured, the kid is special on a motorcycle. All the proof you need is on the new record time around Sepang to believe in the talent of this young man.

Press Release

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have finished the first three-day test of 2015 on top of the time sheets, with both riders over half a second faster than their closest rival.

This morning during the cooler temperatures, 2014 World Champion Marc recorded the fastest ever time on two wheels around the Sepang circuit with his time of 1’58.867 on lap 8 – of 52 – (beating his own record of 1’59.533 from the 2014 Winter test), as all the riders took to the track in a time attack. In the afternoon, Marc completed a 20 lap race simulation, and gained valuable data about the current spec Honda.

Dani, who’s morning time was just 0.139 off Marc, also did a 20 lap race simulation in the afternoon – with 10 laps under 2’01 – and fine tuned his settings on his 2015 RC213V in preparation for the next test here in two weeks. He recorded his time of 1’59.006 on lap 11 of 41.

The HRC engineers will now take the data collected from this test back to Japan to analyse and prepare for the second Sepang test, due to take place on the 23-25 February.

Marc Marquez

1ST 1’58.867 (52 LAPS)

“The truth is that when I saw the time I was surprised, just like everyone else! In any case, I must say that today the track was fast, as we all rode faster than before. I’m glad I was able to set a good lap, but more important is the fact that I felt very comfortable, right from the start. We did a race simulation later on, which also went very well and was perhaps even more important than a single lap. During the race simulation we tested different mapping and in every part we tried different things. The positive is that with the new bike we are already at the same level as in 2014, and there is still plenty of room for improvement. Now I can’t wait for the second test and to see what progress we can make.”

Dani Pedrosa

2ND 1’59.006 (41 LAPS)

“I’m happy with the work we have done today, because we have made progress in some aspects with the rear. There is still room for improvement, but overall we’ve taken some pretty positive steps in this test and I think that’s a very good thing. The team have also integrated well and we have worked very smoothly together, so I’m very happy about that. We did a race simulation in which we tested the bike for the first time in such a scenario. Obviously there are some things to improve but, considering it was the first time, the findings have been pretty good!”

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