PHOTOGRAPHY BY GOLD & GOOSE
MONTEREY, CA, JULY 20 - Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez continued to lower his lap time at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca today, the young Spaniard improving in spite of cold and dreary conditions on the Monterey Peninsula. And he wasn’t alone as the top eight riders all lowered their times from yesterday.
Marquez was the first to dip into the 1:21 bracket today, the championship leader putting in a 1:21.568 – the fastest time of the weekend – as he continues to impress in his Laguna Seca debut.
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi had less than perfect session, but went out at the end and threw down a 1:21.752 to end up second fastest. His best lap right at the end displaced an on-form Stefan Bradl on the LCR Honda. Bradl, however, held on for third, the last rider in the 1:21-range.
Go & Fun Honda’s Alvaro Bautista showed big improvement today, the Spaniard looking aggressive in posting the fourth best time of the weekend – a 1:22.085 – and was able to string together a group of low 1:22s in the session.
Cal Crutchlow lowered his times from yesterday but dropped to fifth, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider held off Marlboro Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo ended the morning in seventh place, but was impressive nonetheless considering he’s had two surgeries on his injured shoulder in the span of 15 days. His rival Dani Pedrosa didn’t participate in this morning’s session as he continues to save himself for when it counts as he too recovers from an injured collarbone.
Nicky Hayden was the final rider to show improvement over yesterday and he ended the morning session in eighth place with a best of 1:22.504. Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith ended up ninth and 10th, respectively, but both riders went faster yesterday afternoon.
Free Practice 3
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1:21.568
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:21.752
3. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1:21.959
4. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1:22.085
5. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:22.187
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:22.226
7. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:22.290
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:22.504
9. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1:22.733
10. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1:22.812