2014 Le Mans Friday Practice Results
After winning the opening four rounds of 2014 MotoGP from the pole, one huge question looms – can anyone stop Marc Marquez?
The Repsol Honda pilot continued his record-setting momentum Friday into the opening day of practice at Le Mans. The 21-year-old Marquez topped the first two of four free practice sessions, posting a best time of 1:33.452 in the afternoon (FP2) session.
This time was quicker than the Circuit Record posted by teammate Dani Pedrosa in 2011 (1:33.617). When Friday wrapped up, only two factory bikes were in the top six – Marquez and Pedrosa, the latter finishing fifth.
“I felt comfortable right from the start today. We began with the base setup from Jerez and worked from there. In the afternoon we tried things out with the tires and tweaked the setup further to keep going forward.
“Besides being the fastest over a single lap, our pace was also really good today, so I am happy with how everything went in general. Tomorrow we shall try to do even better, because I’m sure that the rest of the riders will take another step forward.”
Besides Marquez, the other rider that impressed Friday was Pramac Racing Ducati’s Andrea Iannone. The Italian GP14 pilot was second quickest, trailing Marquez by a mere 0.007 of a second.
“ What can I say … I’m very happy with how we ended the day. I am pleased to be only seven hundredths of a second from Marquez, who is dominating this championship from the start of the the season,” Iannone says.
“We did a good job, I did the fastest lap time with the soft tire but here I’m fast even with that hard compound, I noticed that my race pace isn’t very different from the top riders and that is good for me. We will continue to work on the bike to improve some details and continue to aim for the top positions.”
The next closest rider was GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. The Spaniard on the satellite RC213V was 0.216 of a second off the top time. Bautista improved his morning (FP1) time by over a second in FP2.
“I’m very happy because we worked very well throughout the all day and this afternoon we managed to improve my feeling with the bike. In the first free practice session the bike was a little too nervous on corner entry, while in the second session we managed to make it smoother,” Bautista says.
“I’ve completed 35 laps with a soft rear tire and its performance was pretty consistent, so I think that the choice for the race is already quite defined. Now we just have to try to improve slightly our pace”.
Fourth quickest was yet another satellite bike – the Monster Yamaha Tech3 YZR-M1 piloted by Bradley Smith. The Brit suffered a huge crash in FP1, but regained his rhythm quickly in FP2 to finish fourth quickest, 0.468 of a second behind.
Fifth went to Pedrosa, who 0.490 of a second off the top time, who was followed 0.098 of a second behind by satellite rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP).
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pilot Jorge Lorenzo finished seventh, 0.602 off Marquez’s pace. Lorenzo led most of FP2, but when riders went in for fresh rubber with 10 minutes to go, he stayed out, replicating race conditions.
“I’m satisfied with the pace which is constant and with my riding. We are not in a position that reflects our performance in the time sheets; we were the only one with the same tire the whole session instead of putting a new tire on at the end or running an open tire. I think with a new tire we could have improved half a second at the end,” Lorenzo says.
The final two riders to post within a second of Marquez were Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso (-0.665) and NGM Forward Racing Yamaha’s Aleix Espargaro (-0.682), who finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
Rounding out the top 10 was nine-time World Champion Valenitno Rossi, who was 1.046 seconds off the top pace. He experienced throttle issues that he says kept him off the top pace.
“I’m not happy about today, especially this afternoon. I wasn’t able to be strong and near the top. I have a lot of problems with the bike especially in acceleration, I have a big problem to open the throttle because the bike is very nervous,” Rossi says.
“We tried to modify something during the practice but we didn’t fix the problem. I’m too far from the front so for tomorrow we have to check the data and improve to be more competitive; it is important to start in the top five here. The difference between Jerez and here for the settings is unbelievable so we have to change a lot of things. Le Mans is always like this!”
Both Americans were over 1.5 seconds off the top pace; Drive M7 Aspar Honda’s Nicky Hayden finished 14th, and NGM Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards 15th.
As for crashes, the man who won the Moto2 race at Le Mans last season – GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Scott Redding – crashed at turn 9 in FP2, but finished the session aboard his second bike.
The 22-rider grid will return to the Le Mans circuit Saturday morning for two additional free practice sessions ahead of qualifying. Last season, Marquez earned the pole, but teammate Pedrosa took the win.
For a preview of round five of 18, visit 2014 Le Mans MotoGP Preview.
2014 Le Mans MotoGP Free Practice 2 Results:
|1||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||305.1||1’33.452|
|2||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||305.7||1’33.459||0.007 / 0.007|
|3||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||GO&FUN Honda Gresini||Honda||308.1||1’33.668||0.216 / 0.209|
|4||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||306.2||1’33.920||0.468 / 0.252|
|5||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||306.8||1’33.942||0.490 / 0.022|
|6||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||307.5||1’34.040||0.588 / 0.098|
|7||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||306.9||1’34.054||0.602 / 0.014|
|8||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||306.2||1’34.117||0.665 / 0.063|
|9||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||NGM Forward Racing||Forward Yamaha||299.9||1’34.134||0.682 / 0.017|
|10||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||304.3||1’34.498||1.046 / 0.364|
|11||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||305.9||1’34.506||1.054 / 0.008|
|12||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Energy T.I. Pramac Racing||Ducati||299.4||1’34.877||1.425 / 0.371|
|13||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Ducati Team||Ducati||306.1||1’34.907||1.455 / 0.030|
|14||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Drive M7 Aspar||Honda||291.3||1’34.961||1.509 / 0.054|
|15||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Forward Racing||Forward Yamaha||297.9||1’35.089||1.637 / 0.128|
|16||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||JPN||Drive M7 Aspar||Honda||297.1||1’35.229||1.777 / 0.140|
|17||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||GO&FUN Honda Gresini||Honda||289.5||1’35.424||1.972 / 0.195|
|18||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Honda||294.8||1’35.818||2.366 / 0.394|
|19||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Avintia Racing||Avintia||294.3||1’36.418||2.966 / 0.600|
|20||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||FRA||Avintia Racing||Avintia||292.2||1’36.612||3.160 / 0.194|
|21||70||Michael LAVERTY||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||PBM||292.6||1’36.742||3.290 / 0.130|
|22||23||Broc PARKES||AUS||Paul Bird Motorsport||PBM||285.0||1’37.136||3.684 / 0.394|