PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREA WILSON
MONTEREY, CA, JULY 18 - Laguna Seca is difficult to learn, since he’s never been there Marc Marquez will definitely struggle, blah, blah, blah… Even those who know how fast and talented the young phenom is didn’t expect the Repsol Honda rider to lead the timesheets for the U.S. Grand Prix – especially not in his first day on the tricky Laguna layout. But that’s exactly what the 20-year-old Spaniard did today, leading the way in the second free practice session in advance of Sunday’s Red Bull United States Grand Prix.
In a session that might just have determined who will go directly to the Q2 session tomorrow afternoon if the morning Q1 is foggy and cold as it was this morning, Marquez ended up on top with his 1:22.040. But it was close as the top 10 riders were within .727 of a second of Marquez and second fastest Stefan Bradl was just .229 of a second behind the championship leader.
Surprisingly it was Andrea Dovizioso third on the Marlboro Ducati, the Italian besting countryman Valentino Rossi on the factory Yamaha and the man who led this morning’s foggy session, Cal Crutchlow.
The injured Jorge Lorenzo came out of the session in sixth place and seemingly way better off than his rival in misery Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa ended the session in 11th place and will have work to do tomorrow to get himself into the top 10 and an automatic berth in Q2.
Most predicted that the CRT bikes would fare well on the tight and twisty Laguna Seca and so far Aleix Espargaro is proving them right. The Spaniard rode his Power Electronics Aspar ART to the seventh best time, besting the Go & Fun Honda Gresini bike of Alvaro Bautista.
Marlboro Ducati’s Nicky Hayden and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith rounded out the top 10.
The session was red flagged with 11:30 to go when Attack Racing wild-card entry Blake Young crashed in turn five, the CRT bike destroying itself as it flipped down the track leaving debris and fluids on the racetrack. The Attack bike suffered a mechanical failure this morning and since the team only has one bike, they face an uphill battle to get things fixed for tomorrow.
Nothing changed at the top of the order when the session was restarted. Marquez was at the top and that’s where he finished.
Free Practice 2
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1:22.040
2. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1:22.269
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:22.284
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:22.346
5. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:22.457
6. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:22.467
7. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1:22.531
8. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1:22.539
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:22.733
10. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1:22.787
17. Colin Edwards (FTR Kawasaki) 1:24.410