Marc Marquez Sets Austin Benchmark

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Marc Marquez was fastest in both MotoGP practice sessions at Circuit of the Americas on Friday. (MotoGP Photo)
Marc Marquez was fastest in both MotoGP practice sessions at Circuit of the Americas on Friday. (MotoGP Photo)

AUSTIN, Texas – Marc Marquez completed his domination of Friday practice as MotoGP action began in Texas on Friday, setting fast time in both practice sessions at Circuit of the Americas.

Following up on the three-day test session in which he took part in a month ago, today Marquez looked comfortable almost immediately in what is only his second race weekend in MotoGP. Posting a best lap time of 2:05.031, improving on his previous best effort as the afternoon checkered flag flew, the 20-year-old Catalan led compatriot Dani Pedrosa by over half a second.

Stefan Bradl, on the LCR Honda MotoGP machine, moved into the top three as championship leader Jorge Lorenzo and Yamaha Factory Racing teammate Valentino Rossi rounded out the top five.

Perhaps to no great surprise of any of their rivals, this was the same quintet that had tested at the Hermann Tilke-designed facility back in March.

Cal Crutchlow was sixth for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 but 1.8 seconds off the leading pace, suggesting that a repetition of his front row start in Qatar may not be so easy to achieve on Saturday. Andrea Dovizioso led the way for Ducati Team from seventh; in the morning he and Nicky Hayden – with the American now also running a smaller version of fairing – both finished inside the top five, but on this occasion the Italian hit trouble and was forced to park up less than 20 minutes in.

Completing the first group of ten were GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista – seemingly taking an immediate liking to the 5.5-kilometre layout – plus the aforementioned Hayden and fellow American countryman Ben Spies on the Ignite Pramac Racing machine.