Circuit Notes by Peter Hubbard: Marc Marquez Leads Pack During Motogp Practice Sessions
Marc Marquez, the reigning MotoGP™ World Champion and winner of the 2014 season’s first Grand Prix race in Qatar, served notice that he remains the man to beat at the 20-turn Circuit of The Americas track during Friday’s two practice sessions, posting the quickest lap times in both the morning and afternoon. The rider of the No. 93 Repsol Honda bike followed up his P1 morning lap time of 2:04.704 by shaving more than a second off that time—posting a 2:03.490 in the afternoon. That’s only about half a second slower than his qualifying time for last year’s Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas race.
Despite not posting the fastest speed during morning session, Marquez, who claimed his first MotoGP victory during last year’s inaugural race in Austin, Texas, was nearly a full second faster than his closest rival, Aleix Espargaro, riding the No. 41 Forward Yamaha for the NGM Forward racing team, who posted a time of 2:05.591. Coming in second behind Marquez in the P2 afternoon practice was the No. 4 Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso, and a time of 2:04.495, just 1.005 seconds behind Marquez.
Dovizioso also clocked the fastest speed during the morning session, topping out at 208.8 miles per hour. However, his Ducati wound up fifth in P1, with a quickest lap time, of 2:06.279. The fastest speed recorded in the P2 afternoon practice was turned in by German rider Stefan Bradl, riding the No. 6 LCR Honda, with a lap time of 2:04.870.
A total of eight riders dropped their lap times below 2:05 during P2 afternoon practice, while only Marquez was able to do so during P1 in the morning.
Marquez’ Respol Honda teammate, Dani Pedrosa riding the No. 26 bike, finished third in the morning, clocking in at 2:05.676. He repeated his third-place finish in the afternoon with a lap time of 2:04.623. The fourth-best time for the morning was posted by the No. 46 Movistar Yamaha of Valentino Rossi, at 2:05.972. Rossi dropped to fifth in the afternoon behind Andrea Iannone, riding the No. 29 Ducati for Pramac Racing, who clocked in at 2:04.669
Rounding out slots six through 10 in P1 were: Bradley Smith riding the No. 38 Monster Yamaha Tech 3; Cal Crutchlow, riding the No. 35 Team Ducati bike; Bradl, atop the No. 6 LCR Honda; Iannone, piloting the No. 29 Ducati for Pramac Racing; and Alvaro Bautista on the No. 19 Go&Fun Honda Gresini. Times were within just three-tenths of each other, ranging from 2:06.336 to 2:06.633.
Slots six through 10 during P2 were recorded by the following: Espargaro, riding the No. 41 Yamaha for the NGM Forward racing; Bradl, riding the No. 6 LCR Honda; Jorge Lorenzo, astride the No. 99 Movistar Yamaha; Crutchlow, riding the No. 35 Team Ducati bike; and Smith on the No. 38 Monster Yamaha Tech 3.
The two American riders in the field, Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards, who yesterday announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2014 season, finished 13th and 14th, respectively during the morning session. Hayden, riding the No. 69 Drive M7 Aspar Honda posted a time of 2:07.450, while the quickest lap turned in by Edwards was 2:07.644. In the afternoon, the two dropped down to 14th and 16th, respectively, despite turning in faster times. Hayden posted a P2 time of 2:06.188, Edwards a time of 2:06.880.
For a summary of today’s MotoGP practice session results, as well as practice results for Moto2™ and Moto3™ riders, visit http://www.motogp.com/en/Results+Statistics. License-free, high-resolution images of today’s practice sessions are available at http://media.circuitoftheamericas.com.
About Circuit of The Americas
Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, is the home of world championships and a world-class destination for premium sports and entertainment. COTA has been nominated as the 2014 “Sports Facility of the Year” by SportsBusiness Journal/Daily. The same publication named COTA’s annual marquee event, the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX, “Sports Event of the Year” for 2013. Additionally, COTA is the new North American home for the summer edition of ESPN’s X Games. More than one million visitors come to COTA each year for events such as MotoGP™, United Sportscar Racing, the FIA World Endurance Championships, business and social functions, and more than 20 performances at the venue’s acclaimed Austin360 Amphitheater, winner of Pollstar’s “Best New Major Concert Venue” award for 2013. COTA’s 1,500-acre campus includes a variety of permanent structures, including a 44,000-square foot Event Center, an impressive Main Grandstand with hospitality suites and the Velocity Lounge, a 270,000-square foot Paddock Building with 34 garages, and an iconic 25-story Observation Tower at the heart of the facility. For more information and downloadable video and photos, visit: www.CircuitofTheAmericas.com, www.Austin360Amphitheater.com or COTA’s dedicated FTP site, media.circuitoftheamericas.com. Follow COTA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CircuitofTheAmericas and Twitter @circuitamericas and @COTAmedia.