MotoGP champion Marc Marquez led the way on the opening day of practice for this year’s Superprestigio Dirt Track event in Barcelona.
The fourth running of the Barcelona event, held in the Palau Sant Jordi arena in Montjuic Park, sees more than 40 participants split into two categories – Open (for habitual dirt track racers) and Superprestigio (for road racers coming from MotoGP, Superbikes and other categories).
These were divided into groups of seven or eight for practice on Friday night, with riders each getting two sessions of three minutes each on the short oval.
Marquez – 2014 Superprestigio champion - set the best time of the evening with 12.029s, just over 50 milliseconds up on Great Britain’s Oliver Brindley, fastest of the Open class riders.
Third fastest was Moto3 rider Marcos Ramirez, followed by Spanish Flat Track champion Ferran Cardus.
Former MotoGP and WSBK racer Toni Elias was fifth, ahead of American Brad Baker, a two-time Superprestigio winner and AMA Flat Track champion.
Practice resumes on Saturday at noon local time, before the main event starts at 1815. The final heat is scheduled to take place at 2115.
Marquez: Dirt track has led to bad MotoGP habits
Despite being quickest in Superprestigio practice, Marquez admitted that competing in dirt track events had caused him to pick up bad habits when it came to riding in MotoGP.
Therefore, the Spaniard has done less practice in the discipline this year, and was surprised by the standard of the competition in training for Saturday’s race earlier in the week.
“This year I did less dirt track, I practically hadn’t done any until this week I began to prepare for the Superprestigio,” explained Marquez.
“What happened is that I picked up some bad habits that didn’t help me when I got on a MotoGP bike, so I decided to stop for a bit. Now I focus on improving my technique and that’s it.
“On Wednesday I trained with several of those who will compete here. I thought it was going well and it turned out I was fourth or fifth, so I had to wake up. Every year the level goes up a lot.
“We all come here to enjoy ourselves, but we want to enjoy ourselves from the podium.”