Marquez & Pedrosa get to drive Japanese F3 car in Honda 'Thanks Day' at Motegi
In Honda's usual 'Thanks Day', all of the Japanese manufacturer drivers and riders were present to celebrate the 2017 season at Twin Ring Motegi. This time it had MotoGP stars Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa being joined by upcoming rider Takaaki Nakagami.
Among the single-seater drivers, McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne was present with Honda's newest Super GT recruit Jenson Button, and also Super Formula drivers Pierre Gasly, Narain Karthikeyan, Daisuke Nakajima, Tomoki Nojiri and several others.
For MotoGP riders Marquez and Pedrosa, they had a different machinery to drive this time, with the two of them having a taste of a Japanese Formula 3 car. They also took part in a kart race, which was won by Marquez while Pedrosa was third, which included a spin.
“I really enjoy Honda Racing Thanks Day because every year it gets more and more interesting and enjoyable for us," said Marquez. "Everything is always perfectly organized, and we get to try many different cars and bikes. This year, for instance, we had the chance to drive an F3 car.
"It was a new experience that I liked a lot, so thanks to Honda for this special treat. Today it was an honour to make a lap together with Takuma [Sato] who won at Indy! It was also very good to meet so many Japanese fans.
"When we come here for the GP they’re always so supportive and make us feel really welcome, so I’m happy to be here for them and to be able to celebrate another great season together.
"The Riders Title was our main target, but having also achieved the Triple Crown with the Constructors and Team Titles is a particularly special feeling," the 2017 MotoGP champion added.
Pedrosa added: "I enjoy this event very much. The season is of course demanding on the mind, as you must keep focused all the time, so it’s really nice when we come here in December when we’re completely ‘stress-free’ and can have fun with the cars and bikes.
"I really enjoyed driving the F3 car; I think it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at Honda Racing Thanks Day, and one of the best overall apart from riding my MotoGP bike! Last year we tried the NSX, which was very nice, but this time was even better—maybe because I could feel the air, like on my bike.
"It’s possible to brake so late into the corners, and the entire time that I was driving I was thinking about what it would be like in an F1 car! It was an amazing experience. I think this event is also very special for the fans because they can really get quite close to us.
"We also have more time to dedicate to them. That’s great because when we come here for the race it’s more difficult to spend time with them. There’s always a great atmosphere here and just fun.”
Apart from The MotoGP riders, the F1 side had Vandoorne and Button drive the 1991 title-winning McLaren MP4/6 machinery. The Belgian driver also got to drive a Super GT car for the first time.