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Iannone fastest on Friday: "Anything is possible"

The Italian put his machine on top to knock Marquez off his perch

Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) ended the day as the quickest man at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, confirming that he and his Suzuki could be on course to fight for the front row in tomorrow’s qualifying. His time of 2:04.599 was enough to beat the King of COTA Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) by 0.056 seconds and the number 29 confirmed he had good feelings on Friday.

Iannone: "Marquez is fast at COTA but anything is possible"

“I have a good feeling with the bike. The track is a bit dirty the condition is a bit difficult but it’s the same for everybody and I’m really happy because we worked in a good way today and the most important is tomorrow that we continue in this way and remain focused.”

Iannone then pointed out how important it is for him to qualify at the front. “The qualifying is really important for us to stay on top during qualifying because I have big problems in overtaking. I need to start in front and remain in front for the race because the biggest problem for me at the moment is overtaking. When I start from the back it’s impossible for me to recover and it’s not a good situation because we don’t use our potential at 100%. Tomorrow, the most important thing is to start from the top.”

Despite beating the number 93 over one lap in Friday practice, the 28-year-old maintained the reigning World Champion is still the man to beat this weekend – but knows anything can happen on race day. “I always believe in the best, I think positively, so in any case, it’s important to stay at the top and fight. But Marquez at the moment has a little bit more than everybody. He always rides fast at this track but I think if we continue to work like this and we improve a bit for tomorrow, anything is possible.”

After his Argentina rostrum meanwhile, teammate Alex Rins had a solid Friday to continue his impressive start to the season on the Hamamatsu factory machine. Despite ending the day 0.853 off his teammates fastest time, the Spaniard was positive about the opening day.

“Yeah I’m quite happy because we did a good job in FP1,” the number 42 stated. “We adjusted the bike a little bit for FP2, with the race tyre I feel strong, with good pace. We still need to work a little bit on the set up, but I think we are in a good way.”

With tomorrow’s forecast looking ominously wet, Rins is confident he can have a good showing in contrasting conditions. “Well one more race in wet, I think that I have a good rhythm in wet conditions, I like it a lot, and we will see what happens.” 

Both Iannone and Rins look to be heading straight into Q2, if the weather forecast is to be believed. Can either of them force their way onto the front row of the grid for Sunday’s race?