Marc Marquez got the better of Valentino Rossi in Friday’s only dry practice session as the pair set the stage for a mouth-watering battle at Mugello this weekend. Marquez arrives at the home Grand Prix of his Yamaha rival looking for a sixth straight victory and stamped his authority with the fastest time in the dying seconds of FP1 before rain effectively washed out FP2.
The reigning champion had one of his toughest weekends of 2013 in Italy, including a terrifying practice crash on the pit straight, but admitted to feeling much more comfortable second time around.
“Today was a really good day, I began with a few questions on my mind after last year – when this track was one of those that I found most difficult – and I saw that things have changed completely after a year of experience. The morning went well and the feeling was good, but in the afternoon we didn’t go out as it was raining on-and-off and the surface was neither fit for dry riding nor wet tyres. I felt very comfortable on the bike, there was a big difference compared to last year and I’m feeling much better about things and we hope to continue improving”.
Rossi was similarly upbeat, despite finishing four tenths adrift of Marquez, and hopes the rain relents on Saturday as he seeks to close the gap to the Repsol Honda rider.
“This morning the start was good for me. We found already quite a good setting and I felt comfortable on the bike; it was already quite fast. The weather is a shame firstly for the people around the circuit and also as we had something important to try this afternoon so it was important to try to make the test. Unfortunately ten minutes before the practice it started to rain but not enough for the rain tyre so we wasted our time.”
Ducati made a bright start to their Grand Prix with Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso finishing third and fourth respectively with Jorge Lorenzo fifth on the second Movistar Yamaha. Aleix Espargaro was sixth quickest ahead of Stefan Bradl and Cal Crutchlow on the next factory Ducati while Alvaro Bautista and Bradley Smith completed the top ten, leaving Dani Pedrosa in need of an improved FP3 in order to claim an automatic spot in Q2 on Saturday. Pol Espargaro is also slightly on his back foot in twelfth with a heavy crash at San Donato halting him in FP1.
|2014 GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA TIM – COMBINED FREE PRACTICE CLASSIFICATION|
|1||93. MARC MARQUEZ||HONDA||REPSOL HONDA TEAM||1:48.004|
|2||46. VALENTINO ROSSI||YAMAHA||MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP||1:48.386|
|3||29. ANDREA IANNONE||DUCATI||PRAMAC RACING||1:48.434|
|4||4. ANDREA DOVIZIOSO||DUCATI||DUCATI TEAM||1:48.518|
|5||99. JORGE LORENZO||YAMAHA||MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP||1:48.665|
|6||41. ALEIX ESPARGARO||FORWARD YAMAHA||NGM FORWARD RACING||1:48.743|
|7||6. STEFAN BRADL||HONDA||LCR HONDA MOTOGP||1:48.925|
|8||35. CAL CRUTCHLOW||DUCATI||DUCATI TEAM||1:48.980|
|9||19. ALVARO BAUTISTA||HONDA||GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI||1:49.030|
|10||38. BRADLEY SMITH||YAMAHA||MONSTER YAMAHA TECH 3||1:49.030|
|11||26. DANI PEDROSA||HONDA||REPSOL HONDA TEAM||1:49.203|
|12||44. POL ESPARGARO||YAMAHA||MONSTER YAMAHA TECH 3||1:49.308|
|13||5. COLIN EDWARDS||FORWARD YAHAMA||NGM FORWARD RACING||1:49.818|
|14||51. MICHELE PIRRO||DUCATI||DUCATI TEAM||1:50.030|
|15||7. HIROSHI AOYAMA||HONDA||DRIVE M7 ASPAR||1:50.143|
|16||68. YONNY HERNANDEZ||DUCATI||PRAMAC RACING||1:50.189|
|17||17. KAREL ABRAHAM||HONDA||CARDION AB MOTORACING||1:50.327|
|18||45. SCOTT REDDING||HONDA||GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI||1:50.440|
|19||8. HECTOR BARBERA||AVINTIA||AVINTIA RACING||1:51.396|
|20||63. MIKE DI MEGLIO||AVINTIA||AVINTIA RACING||1:52.164|
|21||70. MICHAEL LAVERTY||PBM||PAUL BIRD MOTORSPORT||1:52.748|
|22||23. BROC PARKES||PBM||PAUL BIRD MOTORSPORT||1:53.775|
|23||69. NICKY HAYDEN||HONDA||DRIVE M7 ASPAR||1:55.369|
|24||9. DANILO PETRUCCI||ART||IODARACING PROJECT||NO TIME|