Photography by Gold & Goose
ALCAÑIZ, Spain (Sept. 27, 2013) -- Motorland Aragon was expected to be a circuit that favored Honda and Friday’s session bolstered that assertion. Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez set the pace on Friday on a hot day in Aragon, round 14 of the 18 race MotoGP World Championship. Marquez set the tone early, clocking a 1:48.987 just minutes into the session to establish the fastest lap of the weekend. MotoGP rookie Marquez was the only rider at Aragon in the 1:48s.
While this is the first MotoGP at Aragon for Marquez, the 20-year-old Spaniard has a good history at the track having previously won the pole in both 125GP and Moto2. He was a winner at the circuit in Moto2 in 2011. He looked supremely confident in the FP2, seeming to delight in leaving sweeping black lines on the tarmac through the turns laying down rubber on acceleration.
Marquez holds a 34-point advantage over both jorge Lorenzo - winner of the last two races - and teammate Dani Pedrosa with five rounds to go.
German Stefan Bradl was a mild surprise in second on the satellite LCR Honda clocking a 1:49.119, set with less than five minutes to go in the Friday’s FP2.
Halfway through the session defending Aragon winner Dani Pedrosa clicked off a lap of 1:49.254, which ultimately placed him P3, giving Honda a sweep of the top three positions on Friday.
It appeared to be a frustrating day for defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. He set the fastest time in the morning FP1, but in FP2 he could only manage fourth fastest on his factory Yamaha (1:49.405) and on video he appeared to be upset when talking to his crew in between stints on the bike.
The pressure of course is on Lorenzo. He has to be perfect throughout the rest of the season in order to have any chance of catching Marquez in the series chase. Aragon is only one of the four current Spanish circuits where Lorenzo has not had a MotoGP win.
Alvaro Bautista was fifth fastest on the day in spite of a fall. With five minutes remaining Bautista suffered the first, and so far only, MotoGP crash of the weekend on the GO&FUN Honda Gresini machine. He was able to restart and ride the bike back into the pits.
Cal Crutchlow was sixth in Friday’s session, turning in a 1:49.840 on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine. He was just ahead factory Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, the last rider in the 1:49s, with a 1:49.909.
Nicky Hayden was tenth on the day aboard his factory Ducati, with a 1:50.446. It was at Aragon in 2010 that Hayden passed Lorenzo on the final lap to score his only podium of that season. Last year here, he crashed and hit a barrier on the second lap of the race.
Fellow American Colin Edwards was 17th in practice Friday, with a time of 1:52.020 on the NGM Mobile Forward FTR-Kawasaki.
MotoGP Free Practice 2 from Motorland Aragon – Sept. 27, 2013
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'48.987
2 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 1'49.119
3 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'49.254
4 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1'49.405
5 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 1'49.763
6 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1'49.840
7 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1'49.909
8 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1'50.034
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 1'50.055
10 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 1'50.446
17 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 1'52.020