Austin MotoGP: Honda’s Marquez Tops 1st COTA Practice

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez

2013 Austin MotoGP at Circuit of the Americas First Free Practice Results

Ahead of the first free practice session Friday morning at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, only five riders piloted prototypes around the 3.426-mile track featuring 20 corners (11 left, nine right).

The riders – Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez, and LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl – were the select few who participated in private testing at the circuit last month.

Topping that session was Marquez, the RC213V pilot who finished third at the opening round of 2013 MotoGP in Qatar. His quickest time during the private testing was a 2:03.853.

Marquez was expected to be quick Friday when the first of four 45-minute practice sessions began for round 2 of 18 at Circuit of the Americas, and these expectations proved true. The rookie posted a 2:08.756, almost five seconds slower than the top private-testing times (due to tires used).

Marquez was 0.253 of a second quicker than the reigning MotoGP Champion Lorenzo, who won the opening round at Qatar. The Spaniard Lorenzo was also the second quickest rider during the private testing at the circuit last month.

Third fastest during FP1 was Marquez’s teammate and fellow countryman Pedrosa. The RC213V rider was 1.6 seconds back, and 1.347 seconds behind Lorenzo.

Next was Andrea Dovizioso on the Ducati Team GP13. The Italian was 1.909 seconds behind Marquez, and the final rider to post within two seconds of the rookie. Hayden followed his teammate by a mere 0.136 of a second, the home favorite running smaller fairings on his GP13.

Rossi was sixth fastest, 2.072 seconds behind Marquez, and was followed by GO&FUN Honda’s Alvaro Bautista. The top ten was rounded out by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, and Ignite Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies.

Third and final American rider Colin Edwards placed his NGM Mobile Forward Racing machine in 14th position, but it was PBM’s Yonny Hernandez who set the CRT pace by going 11th quickest – despite suffering a technical problem ten minutes before the checkered flag flew, having to return to the pits by foot.

At the tail end of the field teammate Michael Laverty was joined by Came IodaRacing Project’s Lukas Pesek, plus wildcard entries Blake Young (Attack Performance Racing) and Mike Barnes (GPTech), in failing to finish inside the 107% threshold; all four men will be keen to make improvements in the second session this afternoon, MotoGP reports.

The second free practice begins at 2:05 p.m. CDT.

These practices carry more significance than previous years. 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 One Results from Circuit of the Americas:

Pos.Num.RiderNationTeamBikeKm/hTimeGap 1st/Prev.
193Marc MARQUEZSPARepsol Honda TeamHonda337.72’08.756
299Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha334.12’09.0090.253 / 0.253
326Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda337.92’10.3561.600 / 1.347
44Andrea DOVIZIOSOITADucati TeamDucati333.72’10.6651.909 / 0.309
569Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati330.72’10.8012.045 / 0.136
646Valentino ROSSIITAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha334.12’10.8282.072 / 0.027
719Alvaro BAUTISTASPAGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda333.72’10.9102.154 / 0.082
835Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha330.42’11.2322.476 / 0.322
96Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda335.82’11.9293.173 / 0.697
1011Ben SPIESUSAIgnite Pramac RacingDucati331.82’12.8134.057 / 0.884
1168Yonny HERNANDEZCOLPaul Bird MotorsportART311.42’13.0584.302 / 0.245
1271Claudio CORTIITANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki314.82’13.3214.565 / 0.263
1338Bradley SMITHGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha332.92’13.3394.583 / 0.018
145Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki314.12’13.6944.938 / 0.355
1541Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART312.12’13.9705.214 / 0.276
1614Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART316.42’14.5305.774 / 0.560
1717Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingART312.82’14.8286.072 / 0.298
1829Andrea IANNONEITAEnergy T.I. Pramac RacingDucati331.82’14.8596.103 / 0.031
199Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter316.12’16.4657.709 / 1.606
207Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNAvintia BlusensFTR307.92’16.4817.725 / 0.016
2167Bryan STARINGAUSGO&FUN Honda GresiniFTR Honda310.42’17.4418.685 / 0.960
228Hector BARBERASPAAvintia BlusensFTR309.82’17.6858.929 / 0.244
70Michael LAVERTYGBRPaul Bird MotorsportPBM312.02’18.3389.582 / 0.653
52Lukas PESEKCZECame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter309.52’18.6849.928 / 0.346
79Blake YOUNGUSAAttack Performance RacingAPR304.42’19.44010.684 / 0.756
44Mike BARNESUSAGP TechBCL286.02’21.53012.774 / 2.090