File Photography by Gold & Goose
AUSTIN, TX, APR. 11 – Apparently, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez isn’t in the mood to mess around, the defending MotoGP World Champion dominating every second of the first practice session at the Circuit of the Americas today. After starting on top and ending on top, Marquez had .887 of a second-placed Aleix Espargaro at the end of the 45-minute session.
Marquez, who qualified on pole position and won is first-career MotoGP race last year at COTA, was on it from the get-go, the Spaniard starting with a 2:10.070 on his out laps and continually lowering it until he ended as the only rider in the 2:04s with his 2:04.704. Last year Marquez earned pole position with a best lap of 2:03.021.
Espargaro’s best lap came late and it vaulted him past Valentino Rossi, the Movistar Yamaha rider holding second for most of the session. Rossi ended up dropping to fourth, the final rider in the 2:05s with his 2:05.972, with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa moving to third late in the session.
If you were in the 2:06s, you were in good company in the opening session as the next eight were within a second of each other. They were led by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizisio and his 2:06.279. The final rider in the 2:06s was 12th placed Jorge Lorenzo at 2:06.771.
Lorenzo’s early season woes have apparently come with him to Texas, the factory Yamaha rider languishing down in 12th and two seconds down on his Honda rival. To make matters worse for the two-time World Champion, he had to suffer the indignity of having Marquez stuff his way past on the final lap of the session. At this point, they seem to be in two different universes.
Bradley Smith ended the session sixth on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, just a tick ahead of his former teammate Cal Crutchlow. Crutchlow had bike problems early in the session with the Brit having to push the Ducati back to the pits.
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Iannone and Go & Fun Honda’s Alvaro Bautista rounded out the top 10 from the first session. Bautista’s session started with him having mechanical problems on the opening lap as he didn’t make it past turn one.
Nicky Hayden finished the session out on the track, his Drive M7 Honda coming to a stop on the side of the track. Hayden posted the 13th best time, just ahead of countryman Colin Edwards.
MotoGP Free Practice 1
2014 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 2:04.704
2. Aleix Espargaro (Yamaha) 2:05.591
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:05.676
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2:05.972
5. Andrea Dovisioso (Ducati) 2:06.279
6. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2:06.336
7. Cal Crutchlow (Ducati) 2:06.433
8. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2:06.537
9. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2:06.602
10. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2:06.633