Austin MotoGP: Honda’s Marquez Dominates Friday Practice

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez during FP2 at Circuit of the Americas
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez during FP2 at Circuit of the Americas
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez during FP2 at Circuit of the Americas

2013 Circuit of the Americas Free Practice 2 Results

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez may be a rookie in MotoGP, but the reigning Moto2 Champion is riding like a seasoned 1000cc rider.

At Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, anyway. The Spaniard Marquez led both Free Practice sessions on Friday, posting a best lap of 2:05.031 at the 3.426-mile circuit containing 20 turns (11 left, nine right) in FP2.

The 20-year-old Marquez, who also led a three-day private test session at COTA in March, was 0.554 of a second quicker than his teammate, Dani Pedrosa. The Spaniard Pedrosa was the final rider to post within a second of Marquez, who took third in his debut MotoGP race at Qatar behind Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

Marquez and Pedrosa were two of five riders who were at the private testing last month, the Repsol Honda duo joined by Rossi, Lorenzo and LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl.

The German Bradl, the 2011 Moto2 Champion, took some of the experience from the testing to post the third quickest time of 2:06.637, which was 1.142 seconds behind Marquez.

Fourth and fifth quickest at Austin MotoGP FP2 went to the other riders involved in that private test at the Hermann Tilke-designed facility – Yamaha’s Lorenzo and Rossi, respectively.

This makes for the only five riders to test at COTA the fastest on the opening day of practice for the Red Bull of the Americas.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow wasn’t far behind Rossi, though, the Brit trailing the nine-time World Champion by 0.031 of a second, and 1.868 seconds behind Marquez.

Crutchlow was followed 0.337 of a second back by the top Ducati rider, Andrea Dovizioso on the Ducati Team GP13, and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista.

Rounding out the top 10 were the two American favorites – Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden and Ignite Pramac Racing Ducati’s Ben Spies.

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, MotoGP says.

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, MotoGP says.

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 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, MotoGP says.

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, MotoGP says.

The third practice session will begin at 9:55 a.m. CDT Saturday. Once the top three free practices’ times are combined, those top 10 riders will immediately progress the qualifying 2.

As the MotoGP 1000cc era entered its sophomore year, a new qualifying format went into effect.

Following the first three free practice sessions, the 10 combined fastest riders automatically advance to qualifying 2 (Q2). The rest of the riders battle it out in qualifying 1 (Q1), with the top two riders in Q1 advancing into Q2.

These 12 riders in Q2  than go head-to-head in a 15-minute session, creating the top-12 grid for this year’s racing. The remaining part of the grid is created from positions 3 through 14 in Q1, which turn into positions 13 through 24 for the overall qualifying grid.

2013 Austin Free Practice 3 from Circuit of the Americas:

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 339.5 2’05.031
2 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 340.1 2’05.585 0.554 / 0.554
3 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 336.4 2’06.173 1.142 / 0.588
4 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 334.3 2’06.637 1.606 / 0.464
5 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 333.8 2’06.868 1.837 / 0.231
6 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 333.9 2’06.899 1.868 / 0.031
7 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 334.2 2’07.236 2.205 / 0.337
8 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 337.7 2’07.256 2.225 / 0.020
9 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 333.4 2’07.699 2.668 / 0.443
10 11 Ben SPIES USA Ignite Pramac Racing Ducati 333.2 2’08.034 3.003 / 0.335
11 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 316.4 2’08.299 3.268 / 0.265
12 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Paul Bird Motorsport ART 315.5 2’09.374 4.343 / 1.075
13 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 332.6 2’09.424 4.393 / 0.050
14 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 315.9 2’09.739 4.708 / 0.315
15 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 335.1 2’09.860 4.829 / 0.121
16 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing ART 308.1 2’10.411 5.380 / 0.551
17 71 Claudio CORTI ITA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 316.1 2’10.720 5.689 / 0.309
18 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Avintia Blusens FTR 310.0 2’11.183 6.152 / 0.463
19 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 317.7 2’11.614 6.583 / 0.431
20 70 Michael LAVERTY GBR Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 309.2 2’11.828 6.797 / 0.214
21 52 Lukas PESEK CZE Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 312.6 2’12.230 7.199 / 0.402
22 67 Bryan STARING AUS GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda 312.5 2’12.462 7.431 / 0.232
23 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 314.7 2’12.504 7.473 / 0.042
24 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Blusens FTR 310.9 2’12.573 7.542 / 0.069
25 79 Blake YOUNG USA Attack Performance Racing APR 310.2 2’13.158 8.127 / 0.585
44 Mike BARNES USA GP Tech BCL 287.7 2’16.169 11.138 / 3.011