Photography by Gold & Goose

Defending MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez was the top rider Friday in MotoGP practice at Mugello followed by Valentino Rossi and a mild surprise in Andrea Iannone. Marquez turned a 1:48.004 on his factory Repsol Honda to top the charts in the morning FP1 session. That was nearly .4 of a second better than Rossi’s 1:48.386 on the factory Yamaha. Iannone lifted the spirits of Ducatista when he clocked in third fastest with a 1:48.434 on his Pramac Ducati.

Dani Pedrosa holds the track record with a 1:47.157, set last year.

FP2 was hampered by light rain and only four riders even went out and recorded a time. Michele Pirro was the fastest in FP2 with a 2:05.435.

Marquez comes to the sixth round of 2014 and will attempt to maintain his perfect start to the season.

“I got my first win in Grand Prix in 125cc here but last year it was the most difficult weekend of the year for me at Mugello,” Marquez said. “In the race though I was fighting for podium and I was quite close to the front before I crashed. One year later and with more experience I hope it will be better. A lot of people will be supporting Valentino and I know Jorge will be fast as he has won for last three years here, but I will look to fight for the victory.”

Looking forward to the 300th Grand Prix of a highly successful career and anticipating a special weekend in front of his thousands of dedicated fans at Mugello, Rossi was in a particularly upbeat mood.

“I’m happy to be celebrating my 300th Grand Prix here in Mugello but I’m happier to be arriving here in good shape,” said the Italian. “It’s important to keep improving, to keep working with the bike and improving my speed. I want to have a good weekend like at Le Mans and Jerez and fight for the podium. This is a good track for Yamaha on paper but Honda have raised their level and it will be hard to beat Marc.”

For Andrea Iannone, in his second year in MotoGP with Pramac Racing a home race provides him with a platform on which to revive his fortunes after two recent DNFs.

He stated, “My bike this year is not too bad, but in the last two races we have not been able to get good results as I’ve crashed out. Ducati are working hard for me and I want to improve the results. Last year I had a lot of injuries but this year I don’t have any physical problems and I have a good feeling. Mugello is a special weekend and for me in particular as I have an Italian bike and an Italian team. I want to improve on my best result in MotoGP this weekend.”

Pol Espargaro crashed in the session, but was able to rejoin later.

Colin Edwards had a solid session running 13th. Nicky Hayden ran just a few laps in FP1, but was out again running in the wet FP2 session.

Friday MotoGP practice from Mugello – May 30, 2014
1. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 48.004s
2. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 48.386s
3. Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 1m 48.434s
4. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 48.518s
5. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 48.665s
6. Aleix Espargaro ESP NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 1m 48.743s
7. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 1m 48.925s
8. Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 48.980s
9. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 1m 49.030s
10. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 49.030s
11. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 49.203s
12. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 49.308s
13. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 1m 49.818s
14. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 50.030s
15. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 1m 50.143s
16. Yonny Hernandez COL Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 1m 50.189s
17. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 1m 50.327s
18. Scott Redding GBR Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R) 1m 50.440s
19. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Avintia) 1m 51.396s
20. Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing (Avintia) 1m 52.164s
21. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 1m 52.748s
22. Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 1m 53.775s
23. Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 1m 53.369s

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