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Marquez in control at Circuit of the Americas

Marquez in control at Circuit of the Americas

Marc Marquez completed his domination of Friday practice as MotoGP™ action began in Texas on Friday. The Repsol Honda Team rider comfortably topped both opening sessions, leading fellow Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Stefan Bradl.

Following on from the three-day test session in which he took part a month ago, today Marquez looked comfortable from the off at what is the start of only his second race weekend in the premier class. Posting a best lap time of 2’05.031, improving on his previous best effort as the afternoon chequered flag flew, the 20-year-old Catalan led compatriot Pedrosa by over half a second.

Bradl, on the LCR Honda MotoGP machine, moved into the top three as championship leader Jorge Lorenzo and Yamaha Factory Racing teammate Valentino Rossi rounded out the top five. Perhaps to no great surprise of any of their rivals, this was the same quintet that had tested at the Hermann Tilke-designed facility back in March.

Cal Crutchlow was sixth for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 but 1.8 seconds off the leading pace, suggesting that a repetition of his front row start in Qatar may not be so easy to achieve on Saturday. Andrea Dovizioso led the way for Ducati Team from seventh; in the morning he and Nicky Hayden – with the American sampling a different version of windscreen – both finished inside the top five, but on this occasion the Italian hit trouble and was forced to park up less than 20 minutes in.

Completing the first group of ten were GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista - seemingly taking an immediate liking to the 5.5-kilometre layout - plus the aforementioned Hayden and fellow American countryman Ben Spies, on the Ignite Pramac Racing machine.

PBM’s Yonny Hernandez impressed in the first session, finishing 11th and leading the way for the CRT runners, but Qatar pace-setter Aleix Espargaro was back on form this afternoon and demoted the Colombian to 12th spot; this was notwithstanding a brief front brake issue for the Power Electronics Aspar rider.

Hoping to move ahead of those two CRTs is England’s Bradley Smith, whose MotoGP debut continues with the taxing task of learning a challenging new circuit for which his team has no past data; he ends the day in 13th position ahead of Aspar’s Randy de Puniet, who suffered the first significant fall of the weekend but escaped unharmed.

Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone was another man to find himself mixed up with CRT representatives, finishing narrowly ahead of Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti, Avintia Blusens' Hiroshi Aoyama and Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci. In 20th place, Michael Laverty was encouraged by the pace of PBM’s own-built bike, behind which were no less than four regular competitors.

The field is completed by Ioda’s Lukas Pesek, Gresini’s Bryan Staring, Forward’s Colin Edwards - who is delighted to be racing at home in Texas - and Blusens’ Hector Barbera. Rounding out the 26-rider field are this weekend’s pair of American wildcard riders: Blake Young and Michael Barnes of their respective Attack Performance Racing and GPTech outfits.

The third practice session, deciding which ten riders move directly into Q2 Qualifying, commences on Saturday at 9:55am local time (GMT -5).


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