Iannone Shocks Marquez to Top Day One at COTA

Andrea Iannone - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

Andrea Iannone created a surprise on Friday at the Circuit of the Americas by topping the practice timesheets. The Suzuki rider edged out overwhelming favourite Marc Marquez in the closing stages of FP2 to finish the opening day on top with both factory Yamaha riders close behind in third and fourth.

Much of the pre-race build-up had centred around the two arch-rivals from Argentina and FP1 followed the script with Marquez and Valentino Rossi locking out the top two spots on a dirty track first thing this morning. Although conditions would improve later in the day, the circuit remained seriously low in grip throughout with times half a second slower than the corresponding session last year.

Although Iannone had shown promising pace at times, his table-topping 2:04.599 came somewhat out of the blue in the closing stages of FP2 as many riders aimed to secure a Q2 spot, mindful of the poor weather forecast for Saturday morning. Marquez, who had led the way virtually all day prior to the Italian’s improvement, would close proceedings in second spot following a crash at turn 11.

Maverick Vinales looked as comfortable as he has at any stage so far this season, securing third overall ahead of his team-mate Rossi, while championship leader Cal Crutchlow looks certain to reach Q2 automatically after going fifth quickest. Alex Rins was sixth on the second Suzuki ahead of factory Ducati pair Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso while Aleix Espargaro was the day’s other big surprise package, taking his Aprilia into the top ten in ninth.

The final provisional Q2 spot is held by Dani Pedrosa with the Spaniard riding through the pain barrier to take tenth, just two weeks after breaking his wrist in Argentina.


2018 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas: (Friday Practice)

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time 
129. Andrea IannoneSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR2:04.599FP2
293. Marc MarquezHondaRepsol Honda Team2:04.655FP2
325. Maverick VinalesYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP2:04.863FP2
446. Valentino RossiYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP2:04.958FP2
535. Cal CrutchlowHondaLCR Honda Castrol2:05.088FP2
642. Alex RinsSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR2:05.452FP2
799. Jorge LorenzoDucatiDucati Team2:05.487FP2
84. Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati Team2:05.647FP2
941. Aleix EspargaroApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini2:05.739FP2
1026. Dani PedrosaHondaRepsol Honda Team2:05.761FP2
119. Danilo PetrucciDucatiAlma Pramac Racing2:05.889FP2
1253. Tito RabatDucatiReale Avintia Racing2:05.910FP2
135. Johann ZarcoYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 32:05.933FP2
1443. Jack MillerDucatiAlma Pramac Racing2:06.016FP2
1545. Scott ReddingApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini2:06.078FP2
1655. Hafizh SyahrinYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 32:06.219FP2
1730. Takaaki NakagamiHondaLCR Honda IDEMITSU2:06.397FP2
1817. Karel AbrahamDucatiAngel Nieto Team2:06.555FP2
1912. Thomas LuthiHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS2:06.625FP2
2021. Franco MorbidelliHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS2:06.640FP2
2119. Alvaro BautistaDucatiAngel Nieto Team2:06.683FP2
2238. Bradley SmithKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing2:07.033FP2
2344. Pol EspargaroKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing2:07.136FP2
2410. Xavier SimeonDucatiReale Avintia Racing2:08.021FP2