Former MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez has drawn first blood at the Austin MotoGP round, setting the fastest time in today’s opening free practice session with a 2’04.953 but the Repsol Honda man was chased hard by reigning champ Jorge Lorenzo.
Until Lorenzo’s final run, Marquez held a 0.6s lead but a final exit from Lorenzo saw the Movistar Yamaha man drop his laptime to a 2’05.208 which was his 13th lap of 15. Andrea Iannone bagged third place with a 2’05.570 before his Desmosedici GP caught fire in pitlane.
Avintia Ducati’s Hector Barbera shot into fourth place with his final lap, setting a 2’05.682 on the Desmo GP14.2, one ahead of Andrea Dovizioso on the second works Ducati. The Italian’s quickest of a 2’06.032 to put him a second off the pace.
Britain’s Scott Redding hopped into sixth place with his 14th lap of 16 and is 1.271s off the pace and that time was enough to push nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi back to seventh.
Yonny Hernandez, on the satellite Aspar Ducati, finally put a fast lap together after running wide several times and the 2’06.264 was enough to take eighth place. Maverick Vinales finished ninth but had to abandon a pole-schedule lap at session end when he ran wide. The Ecstar Suzuki man finished ninth with the second works Honda of Dani Pedrosa completing the top ten.
Aleix Espargaro led brother Pol home for 11th with Cal Crutchlow in 13th. Stefan Bradl put the rapidly-improving Aprilia into 14th with Tito Rabat 15th. Bradley Smith hauled himself from dead last to 16th with his 11th lap of 13, one ahead of Eugene Laverty.