Marquez takes the early advantage on day one in Austin

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Reigning MotoGP Champion leads the way ahead of Dovizioso and Pedrosa

Marc Marquez had as good a start he could have hoped for coming into this weekend’s Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas with the Repsol Honda rider leading the way after the first two free practice sessions at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Marquez was devastating right from the start today and completely dominated the whole first day.

This first day of practice in Austin went really well.

Marc Marquez

Taking up where he left off at the first round at Qatar, where he was nursing a healing leg from a pre season motocross accident, Marquez immediately leaped to the top of the timings this morning and continued with his lightning pace on his RC213V eventually setting a fastest time of 2m 03.490s. Sitting in second on day one was the Ducati Team machine of Andrea Dovizioso but still a full second off the blistering pace of Marquez while Dani Pedrosa set the third fastest lap of 2m 04.623s.

The fourth fastest lap was also set by a Ducati rider with Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone setting a best time of 2m 04.669s ahead of Valentino Rossi on the Movistar Yamaha YZR-M1 who jumped up the timings in the second half of the session to eventually set a best time of 2m 04.793s and just 0.124s ahead of NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro. Stefan Bradl set the 7th best time of 2m 04.870s on the LCR Honda while Jorge Lorenzo continues in his search for better grip on his Movistar Yamaha machine with the Spaniard in 8th place and only 0.106 ahead of Cal Crutchlow on the second of the factory Ducati machines.

Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team

Photo by: Ducati Corse

The final spot in the top ten went to Bradley Smith on the first of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machines with the British rider’s best lap of 2m 05.366s nearly four tenths better than that of GO&Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista who in turn finished ahead of Pol Espargaro on the second Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine with a best time of 2m 05.672s. Scott Redding also comes to Austin for the first time on MotoGP machinery and the GO&Fun Honda Gresini rider set the 13th fastest time of 2m 05.937s while the home crowd were cheering on Nicky Hayden in 14th for the Drive M7 Aspar team with a best lap of 2m 06.188s and the NGM Forward Racing machine of Colin Edwards in 16th with a best time of 2m 06.880s.

Speaking after his first day on track, Marquez said, “This first day of practice in Austin went really well. Obviously I’m happy with the time I set, and also with the gap of a second between myself and the next quickest rider. However, the most important thing for me is that my leg feels ok – much better than it did in Qatar. The injury was bothering me a little, but I was able to participate in both Free Practice sessions without taking any painkillers. Now I just have to wait for tomorrow and see if things go better or worse for us then; we know that we have a small advantage and we will try to manage it well, but I am aware that the rest of the riders will also make improvements.”

Dovizioso's second fastest lap came at the end of the session using the softer Bridgestone rear as the Italian explained, “I am very pleased with how this weekend has started despite the fact that physically I don’t feel well at all. We are quick, we’re working well, and I have managed to quickly dial into this track. It’s a really nice track and great fun to race here. We are very strong under braking and we can use our power on the main straight so we are able to lap well for this reason. To set these times I had to use the soft tyre at the end of the session because it’s always important to be inside the top 10 for the Q2. As well as our one-lap form, our race pace is not bad either and that’s positive.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

Pedrosa was also happy with his performance today saying, “Today we did a good job with the tyres. We tried the hard compound and it went fairly well for us. Although we didn’t go very fast, we have a good feeling and I think that with a few tweaks to the setup we can take a big step forward and improve considerably tomorrow. Today was a positive day for us.”

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Series MOTOGP
Article type Breaking news
Tags austin, dovizioso, ducati, featured, hatch, honda, marquez, pedrosa