Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez edged Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo at the top of the first free practice timesheets at Valencia this morning with a last-ditch effort in a load of traffic.
Lorenzo’s 1’31.489, set on his 15th lap of 17, was 0.142s quicker than his compatriot but Marquez tried for one last go, coming out of the garage with barely enough time to do an out-lap before the chequered flag appeared.
He set a blistering first sector but then ran into traffic as PBM’s Broc Parkes was also trying to get in his fastest time. Marquez had just enough space though and set a 1’31.296 to beat Lorenzo by a little under two tenths.
Aleix Espargaro bagged third place with his last lap, set on the soft tyre, to push Dani Pedrosa into third place. The tiny Spaniard was 0.151 slower than Lorenzo with Pedrosa just 0.007s behind him.
Valentino Rossi last effort was enough to haul him up to fifth with a half-second disadvantage while Smith went ahead of Andrea Dovizioso for sixth with his last lap of the session. Hector Barbera, on the Avintia GP14, was eighth while Pol Espargaro and Ducati test rider Michele Pirro rounded out the top ten.
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow was 13th with Scott Redding 17th. Randy De Puniet put the Suzuki GSX-RR one place ahead of the Production Honda mounted Brit and was two seconds off the pace.
Hiro Aoyama has debuted the 2015 RC213V-S Open Honda and it has a whopping speed advantage over the 2014 bikes. The Japanese, who will be HRC test rider for next season, posted a 320kph top end compared to 309.5kph for Nicky Hayden, the quickest of the RCV1000R models.