Honda MotoGP riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa had the time of their life when they tested the Toro Rosso Formula 1 car at Red Bull Ring circuit in June.
In a special two-day test arranged by Red Bull and Honda, the two riders completed their maiden run in a F1 car, thereby becoming only the third and fourth MotoGP riders to have driven a F1 car in recent times.
Previously, Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi had a test chance with Ferrari while Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo drove the Mercedes. Guiding Marquez, Pedrosa and Motocross rider Tony Cairoli during their whole run was former Red Bull driver Mark Webber.
In attendance were also Red Bull’s consultant Dr. Helmet Marko, owner Dietrich Mateschitz, Honda motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto and Mercedes’ non-executive chairman Niki Lauda at Red Bull’s home circuit in Spielberg.
After the simulator sessions, all three were given a target lap to achieve in what was said to be Toro Rosso-liveried V8-powered Red Bull car from the 2012 season without the DRS or KERS, running on Pirelli’s show tyres.
In a video uploaded by Red Bull Motorsports, it showed the progress the three riders made on their three-lap runs. The reference time given to all the three riders to beat was a 1m13.396s around the F1 layout.
Marquez’s first flying lap was a 1m19.461s and he immediately improved to a 1m16.943s on his second lap. Braking in the corners and gear shifting was troubling him the most, as in MotoGP he has to shift gears quickly, while in F1 he can hold back a bit.
His final lap was a 1m14.608s – he fell short by 1m212s on the reference lap, but overall both Marquez and Webber were happy with the progress made in the whole day of testing in the best conditions available.
On the other hand, Pedrosa fared much better on his F1 debut. Unlike Marquez, his teammate started off in an already good position with a straight 1m15.945s time. Webber lauded the Spaniard for his good braking technique.
Pedrosa then improved his time to a 1m14.758s on his second lap and eventually he did a 1m13.622s lap time in an improved performance from Marquez to be shy of the reference time by just the 0.226s. Cairoli’s best was 1m17.843s in the end.