Honda’s Marquez Dominates Friday MotoGP Practice at Austin’s COTA

Honda's Marquez Dominates Friday MotoGP Practice at Austin's COTA
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez Friday at Circuit of the Americas

2014 Circuit of the Americas Free Practice 2 Results

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was the clear favorite heading into round 2 of the 2014 MotoGP Championship at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas.

The reigning MotoGP Champion had already won the opening round at Qatar – six weeks after breaking his leg – and was victorious from the pole during COTA’s debut last year.

And on Friday, the 21-year-old Spaniard dominated both Free Practice sessions by large margins. In FP1, he posted a 2:04.704 around the 3.426-mile circuit, finishing 0.887 of a second ahead of Aleix Espargaro on the Open-option NGM Forward Racing Yamaha.

And he only got quicker in Free Practice 2, posting a 2:03.490 on hard Bridgestone rubber; this is less than 0.5 of a second off his 2013 pole-qualifying time on medium rubber.

But what’s even more impressive is the gap he pulled aboard the RC213V; Marquez finished 1.005 seconds ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso on the GP14 (running under Open-option rules).

Most of the others used softer tires during Friday’s FP2, including Dovi and Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa, who finished third, 1.133 off the top time.

The fourth quickest rider was the Pramac Racing Ducati GP14 piloted by Andrea Iannone, who was 1.179 seconds behind Marquez; Iannone also used a soft rear tire.

The quickest Yamaha rider was nine-time World Champion Valenitno Rossi. The 34-year-old Italian, who finished second at Qatar, 0.259 of a second behind Marquez, makes it no secret that he finds the long Circuit of the Americas tricky. He finished Friday fifth quickest, 1.303 behind Marquez.

As for Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo continued to struggle with edge grip on the Yamaha, through he used a re-introduced 2013-spec Bridgestone tire that he preferred over the 2014 tires. He finished eighth quickest, 1.486 seconds off Marquez.

Sixth fastest went to Espargaro, who outpaced LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl on the RC213V. Rounding out the top 10 were two British riders – Ducati Team’s Cal Crutchlow and Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith, respectively.

As for the Americans, Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden was 14th quickest aboard the Honda RCV1000R, finishing 2.698 seconds off the top time. The retiring Colin Edwards (NGM Forward Racing Yamaha) was 16th quickest, 3.390 seconds off the top time.

The riders will return to Circuit of the Americas 11:55 a.m. ET for the third free-practice ahead of a final practice session and qualifying.

2014 Austin MotoGP from Circuit of the Americas Free Practice 2 Results:

193Marc MARQUEZSPARepsol Honda TeamHonda338.52’03.490
24Andrea DOVIZIOSOITADucati TeamDucati334.72’04.4951.005 / 1.005
326Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda337.32’04.6231.133 / 0.128
429Andrea IANNONEITAPramac RacingDucati336.02’04.6691.179 / 0.046
546Valentino ROSSIITAMovistar Yamaha MotoGPYamaha334.12’04.7931.303 / 0.124
641Aleix ESPARGAROSPANGM Forward RacingForward Yamaha322.02’04.8441.354 / 0.051
76Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda339.62’04.8701.380 / 0.026
899Jorge LORENZOSPAMovistar Yamaha MotoGPYamaha331.52’04.9761.486 / 0.106
935Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRDucati TeamDucati329.82’04.9811.491 / 0.005
1038Bradley SMITHGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha328.82’05.3661.876 / 0.385
1119Alvaro BAUTISTASPAGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda338.02’05.4531.963 / 0.087
1244Pol ESPARGAROSPAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha329.72’05.6722.182 / 0.219
1345Scott REDDINGGBRGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda316.42’05.9372.447 / 0.265
1469Nicky HAYDENUSADrive M7 AsparHonda316.22’06.1882.698 / 0.251
1568Yonny HERNANDEZCOLEnergy T.I. Pramac RacingDucati328.02’06.3762.886 / 0.188
165Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Forward RacingForward Yamaha319.12’06.8803.390 / 0.504
177Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNDrive M7 AsparHonda322.12’07.0343.544 / 0.154
1817Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingHonda317.92’07.0533.563 / 0.019
198Hector BARBERASPAAvintia RacingAvintia315.92’07.2113.721 / 0.158
209Danilo PETRUCCIITAIodaRacing ProjectART315.82’08.3794.889 / 1.168
2170Michael LAVERTYGBRPaul Bird MotorsportPBM312.52’08.9735.483 / 0.594
2223Broc PARKESAUSPaul Bird MotorsportPBM309.22’09.0045.514 / 0.031
2363Mike DI MEGLIOFRAAvintia RacingAvintia316.92’09.2475.757 / 0.243