Marc Marquez’s domination at the Circuit of the Americas looks set to continue after the Spaniard dominated Friday’s free practice sessions in Texas. The Repsol Honda rider, who has never been beaten in qualifying or a race at COTA, was over seven tenths clear of Andrea Iannone despite a crash midway through FP2.
The championship leader appeared in ominous form in the morning session, opening up a one-second lead at one stage, and despite a late charge from Jorge Lorenzo, Marquez held onto top spot with a 2:04.953. Lorenzo himself would close to within 0.013s of the overall benchmark in the early stages of FP2 but within seconds of doing so, Marc moved the goalposts once again with a 2:04.560 to extend his lead once again.
Although his progress was halted mid-session by a crash at turn 20 with the front end of the RC213V giving way, Marquez upped the pace in the closing minutes with a 2:04.034 pulling him further clear of the opposition. Maverick Vinales looked set to claim second but a late flyer from Iannone saw the Ducati rider, who will be demoted three grid spots after his collision with Andrea Dovizioso in Argentina, snatch P2.
Scott Redding also impressed to take fourth, edging out the Movistar Yamahas of Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, while Loris Baz and Andrea Dovizioso ensured four Ducatis would end the day in the top ten, sandwiching Dani Pedrosa in seventh and ninth respectively.
Cal Crutchlow holds the last automatic Q2 spot heading into Saturday’s morning session but Bradley Smith faces an uphill struggle to break into the top ten having ended day one in nineteenth position.
2016 RED BULL GRAND PRIX OF THE AMERICAS (FRIDAY CLASSIFICATION)
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