Photography by Gold & Goose
AUSTIN, TX, APR. 11 – If you’re racing in the MotoGP class and your name isn’t Marc Marquez, you’re sitting in your pit box right now scratching your head. Chances are you went quicker in Free Practice 2 at Circuit of the Americas, but the problem is so did Marquez.
After dominating the first practice session this morning and leading the pack by .887 of a second, the World Champion stepped it up again in the afternoon, turning in a 2:03.490 to best Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso by 1.005 seconds. Throw Mr. Marquez out of the equation and you’d have a pretty good battle with just .486 of a second separating second-placed Dovizioso from his ninth-placed teammate Cal Crutchlow. The only problem is Marquez doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere.
With a time .469 of a second over his pole position time of a year ago, Marquez is in a class of his own at the moment. Dovizioso made the biggest gains of the session in jumping from fifth this morning to second this afternoon, but even a gain of 1.7 seconds has him looking at a gap of just a tick over a second to Marquez.
Marquez’s Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa ended up third again this afternoon, though he was a second quicker than he was this morning. That put him ahead of Andrea Iannone, the Pramac Ducati rider having an impressive first day at the Circuit of the Americas.
Valentino Rossi was again the fastest of the factory Yamahas, the Italian legend dropping a spot from this morning to end up fifth. But that’s three spots better than his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who improved on his morning best by 1.795 seconds but still finds himself an uncharacteristic eighth at the end of the first day.
Aleix Espargaro ended up behind Rossi in sixth on the NGM Forward Racing Yamaha. Then came LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, Lorenzo, Crutchlow and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith.
Americans Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards ended the second session in 14th and 16th, respectively.
1. Marquez (Honda) 2:03.490
2. Andrea Dovisioso (Ducati) 2:04.495
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:04.623
4. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2:04.669
5. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2:04.793
6. Aleix Espargaro (Yamaha) 2:04.844
7. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2:04.870
8. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2:04.976
9. Cal Crutchlow (Ducati) 2:04.981
10. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2:05.366