In-Form Marquez Leads In San Marino

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The early indications from Misano are that Marc Marquez will be the man to beat once again after he set an impressive pace in first practice. The Spaniard has won four of the last five races to slash Stefan Bradl's championship lead to 28 points, and he appears to be in no mood to ease off now.

While he led from start to finish in Indianapolis, Marquez waited until the final three minutes to hit the front this morning, edging ahead of the in-form Pol Espargaro. His time at that stage was a 1:39.206 but he later improved to a 1:38.902, giving him a quarter of a second over the rest of the field.

The chasing pack was eventually headed by Frenchman Jules Cluzel who came out of nowhere to deliver a 1:39.223. Aleix Espargaro improved on his final lap to take third from his brother while home favourite Alex de Angelis also edged ahead of the youngster to grab fourth.

Simone Corsi was sixth quickest while the under-pressure Stefan Bradl finished the morning in seventh place. The German's points lead has reduced in each of the last five races and looks likely to have his work cut out again to hold Marquez back.

Italian duo Michele Pirro and Mattia Pasini ended the morning in eighth and ninth respectively while Yuki Takahashi found some pace late on to push Andrea Iannone out of the top ten. The British pair of Scott Redding and Bradley Smith were 12th and 13th respectively as they look to carry on from their strong performances last weekend. With a gap of just eight tenths to Marquez, they are still going to be setting their sights on the front two rows tomorrow.

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