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Grand Prix of The Americas P1 Results | Marini tops COTA MotoGP P1

Luca Marini clawed back some of the spotlight from his 2023 MotoGP World Championship leading team-mate Marco Bezzecchi to top Practice 1 for the 2023 Grand Prix of The Americas.

Having watched his race-winning VR46 Ducati counterpart steal the headlines last time out in Argentina, Marini drew attention to himself in the first of Friday's two practice sessions at Circuit of The Americas, going clear up top by +0.150s from Fabio Quartararo

By contrast, Bezzecchi - who leads Pecco Bagnaia in the overall standings after two rounds - has work to do in P2 later today after a late fall at Turn 12 consigned him to 13th at the flag.


It was an impressive start to the weekend from Marini, who spent much of the 45-min session playing a supporting role among the Ducati octet, only to springboard to the head of the timesheets with three minutes remaining by punching in a 2m 03.806s time.

While Quartararo nudged himself ahead of that benchmark shortly afterwards, Marini's second time attack lap took a full half-second from his previous effort. It left him with a session topping 2m 03.250secs to ensure a comfortable edge over the opposition.

Though another improved time from Quartararo seconds later wasn't enough to unseat Marini from the summit, second fastest for the Frenchman will be seen as an important step forward following a troubled start to his 2023 campaign on the Yamaha.

As expected, it was a strong session for Ducati - a winner last season with Enea Bastianini - with Johann Zarco popping up into third late on, just ahead of Alex Marquez, who set the early pace en route to fourth in a continuation of his positive run of form on the satellite Gresini form.

Jack Miller shrugged off a low-speed tip-off at the Turn 12 hairpin - one of a handful of riders to come down at the end of the long back straight - to put KTM in an encouraging fifth place, the Australian ahead of Jorge Martin on the Pramac Ducati in sixth and defending champion Pecco Bagnaia on the factory Ducati in seventh.

Having burst out of the blocks quickest last time out in Argentina, Aprilia ended P1 at COTA with evident work to do as it circulated at the lower end of the timesheets before Maverick Vinales saved face with a lap that placed him eighth. Aleix Espargaro, on the other hand, never featured prominently, the Spaniard way down in 18th.

Though Alex Rins and Joan Mir enjoyed long stints inside the top six during the session, they dropped back in the final minutes, meaning it was Takaaki Nakagami coming out at the best-placed Honda in ninth, while Brad Binder rounded out the top ten on the second of the KTMs.

With storms threatening in overcast skies, rain is a possibility for P2 later today, which would spell bad news for those outside of those crucial Top 10 spots, not least Bezzecchi, who couldn't lift himself higher than 13th once he remounted from his slow low-side.

Other top tips hoping rain stays away will be Joan Mir in 11th, Alex Rins in 14th and Miguel Oliveira in 15th, the latter back in action following injury.


Finally, Jonas Folger's MotoGP comeback is underway, though the German endured a troubled session with a technical issue on the GasGas Tech3 forcing him onto the sidelines initially, before completing only a series of out-laps to iron out gremlins.

He eventually completed a time attack lap of 2m 08.176s - just under five seconds off the ultimate pace and +2.4s behind the next slowest rider, Michele Pirro.

As a reference, Folger's qualifying time on his last appearance at COTA - aboard the Tech3 Yamaha in 2017 - was a 2m 04.623s effort that placed him eighth.

MotoGP P1 Results - Grand Prix of The Americas | COTA

Grand Prix of the Americas, USA MotoGP | P1 Results | Circuit of The Americas | Round 3 / 21
1Luca MariniITAMooney VR46 RacingDucati GP222m 03.250
2Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha RacingYamaha M12m 03.400
3Johann ZarcoFRAPrima Pramac RacingDucati GP232m 03.538
4Alex MarquezESPGresini RacingDucati GP222m 03.551
5Jack MillerAUSKTM Factory RacingKTM RC162m 03.676
6Jorge MartinESPPrima Pramac RacingDucati GP232m 03.708
7Pecco BagnaiaITADucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP232m 03.792
8Maverick VinalesESPAprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP2m 03.897
9Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCRHonda RC213V2m 04.139
10Brad BinderRSAKTM Factory RacingKTM RC162m 04.204
11Joan MirESPHRC RepsolHonda RC213V2m 04.312
12Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Yamaha RacingYamaha M12m 04.342
13Marco BezzecchiITAMooney VR46 RacingDucati GP222m 04.364
14Alex RInsESPLCRHonda RC213V2m 04.452
15Miguel OliveiraPORRNF RacingAprilia RS-GP2m 04.661
16Raul FernandezESPRNF RacingAprilia RS-GP2m 04.904
17Fabio di GiannantonioITAGresini RacingDucati GP222m 04.906
18Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP2m 05.054
19Augusto FernandezESPGasGas Factory Tech 3KTM RC162m 05.732
20Stefan BradlGERHRC RepsolHonda RC213V2m 05.771
21Michele PirroITADucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP232m 05.772
22Jonas FolgerGERGasGas Factory Tech 3KTM RC162m 08.176

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