2013 Valencia MotoGP Season Finale Friday Practice ResultsWith the 2013 MotoGP title fight about to be settled at this weekend’s season finale – which is the first time the title went down to the wire since 2006 – Respol Honda’s Marc Marquez began in top form.
The 20-year-old Spaniard, who can become the first rookie to claim a title since Freddie Spencer in 1983, topped both Free Practice sessions Friday at Valencia.Under dry and sunny conditions, albeit a bit of wind, Marquez set the pace at the Spanish circuit, piloting his Honda RC213V to a best time of 1:31.220, which is not far off his teammate’s pole position last season (1:30.844). When the final practice session of Friday wrapped up, Marquez would be 0.066 of a second quicker than Pedrosa, who also won at Valencia last season.Pedrosa, who lost his title hopes following a third place at Motegi, may be crucial in keeping Lorenzo back as Marquez chases his first title. Marquez currently has a 13-point lead over Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.But the two-time MotoGP Champion wasn’t far off the leading Hondas’ paces; Lorenzo finished the day 0.158 of a second back. Lorenzo also posted this time late in the FP2 session. He spent most of the day in the pits with his team working on setup.Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow was fourth quickest, 0.282 off Marquez’s pace. The Brit, who joins the Ducati Team in 2014 MotoGP, crashed, but escaped unharmed.Fifth went to Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, who announced he is splitting with long-time crew chief Jeremy Burgess following the 2013 MotoGP season. The nine-time World Champion was 0.419 of a second off the pace.Sixth through eighth fastest went to LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith, the final rider to post within a second of Marquez (0.764 of a second back.Rounding out the top 10 were the Ducati duo of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden, respectively.The top CRT bike during Friday was the man who clinched top honors already, Aleix Espargaro. The Power Electronics Aspar rider finished 13th.The 26-rider grid will return to the Valencia circuit Saturday for two more practice sessions and qualifying. For a preview of Valencia MotoGP, click here.2013 Valencia MotoGP Free Practice 2 Results:
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.