Honda pilots displayed their strength at the Circuit of the Americas during free practice on Friday. MotoGP
rookie Marc Marquez proved the fastest rider in both sessions, outpacing his Repsol teammate, Dani Pedrosa
, by half-a-second in FP2. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl posted the third-fastest time on his final go-around, slipping past Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo
by 0.464 seconds.
Cool temperatures affected grip levels during the morning free practice session. Marquez was the only rider to dip into the 2’08 range in FP1, nearly four seconds slower than his best lap time set during preseason testing at CoTA. Things heated up by the afternoon and most riders were able to cut two to three seconds off their lap times. Marquez and Pedrosa were the only two riders in FP2 to post within 2’05.
Early in FP2 Lorenzo and Marquez shifted back and forth in the top spot, until Bradl stepped up and commanded the lead for almost 20 minutes mid-session. Lorenzo finally answered back, and then soon after it was Marquez in the lead once again, finishing off the latter portion of practice unchallenged.
"It's been a very positive first day," said Marquez. "We took the top time and, even though these are only practice sessions, this is important. We need to find which tire works best for every session, and above all we will be working with the race in mind. Let's see if tomorrow we can continue along the same upward path.”
Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi
, posted the fifth-fastest time, sliding past Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow in the final minutes of the session. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso managed to come in seventh-fastest despite mid-session electrical issues which cost the Italian valuable track time. Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista was eighth, followed by Dovi’s teammate, Nicky Hayden, in ninth and Ignite Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies in 10th.
Leading the CRT charge is Aleix Espargaro of Power Electronics Aspar in 11th. His teammate, Randy de Puniet, who finished 14th, had a scare late in the session when he lost grip and crashed. Luckily he was able to walk away from his slide across the asphalt with no major injuries. Native Texan, Colin Edwards of NGM Mobile Forward Racing, ended in 23rd while the two American CRT wild card entries, Blake Young of Attack Performance Racing and Michael Barnes of GPTech, took the final spots on the timesheet in 25th and 26th respectively.
A third practice is scheduled for Saturday morning ahead of qualifying sessions later in the day, but with a steep drop in temperature expected overnight riders will have a cool track to deal with once again in their final chance to move directly to Q2.
MotoGP Circuit of the Americas Friday Results 2013:
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 2’05.031
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2’05.585
3. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2’06.173
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2’06.637
5. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2’06.868
6. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 2’06.899
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 2’07.236
8. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2’07.256
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2’07.699
10. Ben Spies (Ducati) 2’08.034
11. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 2’08.299
12. Yonny Hernandez (ART) 2’09.374
13. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2’09.424
14. Randy de Puniet (ART) 2’09.739
15. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2’09.860
16. Karel Abraham (ART) 2’10.411
17. Claudo Corti (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’10.720
18. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR) 2’11.183
19. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter) 2’11.614
20 Michael Laverty (PBM) 2’11.828
21. Lukas Pesek (Ioda-Suter) 2’12.230
22. Bryan Staring (FTR-Honda) 2’12.462
23. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’12.504
24. Hector Barbera (FTR) 2’12.573
25. Blake Young (APR) 2’13.158
26. Michael Barnes (BCL) 2’16.169