Austin MotoGP: Marquez leads Rossi in first practice

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Austin MotoGP: Marquez leads Rossi in first practice
Jamie Klein
By: Jamie Klein
Apr 20, 2018, 3:51 PM

Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez set the pace in first practice at Austin, beating nearest challenger Valentino Rossi by a little under four tenths of a second.

Marquez sat atop the timesheets virtually throughout the 45-minute session at the Circuit of the Americas, a track where the Spaniard is unbeaten, ending up setting a best time of 2m05.530s.

The Honda rider was more than a second clear of the field in the early stages, which were characterised by a dirty track surface, but Marquez's rivals were able to close in on their final runs.

The track has undergone a diamond-grinding process in recent weeks, in an effort to eliminate the track's notorious bumps, but this has left a lot of dusty residue on the surface.

Maverick Vinales was the first man to get within half a second of Marquez, but it was his Yamaha teammate Rossi who beat him to second spot, 0.396s off the pace with Vinales 0.727s down in the end.

Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo was the final rider to get within a second of Marquez in fourth place, ahead of LCR Honda's points leader Cal Crutchlow and the second works Desmosedici of Andrea Dovizioso.

Rookie Takaaki Nakagami (LCR) was a surprising seventh, ahead of lead Suzuki rider Andrea Iannone and Johann Zarco (Tech 3 Yamaha), who lost time early on when his bike stopped out on track in the opening minutes and then had a lap deleted for exceeding track limits.

Alex Rins (Suzuki) completed the top 10 ahead of Aprilia duo Aleix Espargaro and Scott Redding, who ran second in the early stages.

An injured Dani Pedrosa struggled to 21st place having been declared fit to ride at COTA on Thursday, 3.581s off the pace of teammate Marquez at the head of the field.

Practice results:

Pos.#RiderBikeTimeGap
1 93 spain Marc Marquez  Honda 2'05.530  
2 46 italy Valentino Rossi  Yamaha 2'05.926 0.396
3 25 spain Maverick Viñales  Yamaha 2'06.257 0.727
4 99 spain Jorge Lorenzo  Ducati 2'06.480 0.950
5 35 united_kingdom Cal Crutchlow  Honda 2'06.539 1.009
6 4 italy Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati 2'06.734 1.204
7 30 japan Takaaki Nakagami  Honda 2'07.010 1.480
8 29 italy Andrea Iannone  Suzuki 2'07.093 1.563
9 5 france Johann Zarco  Yamaha 2'07.124 1.594
10 42 spain Alex Rins  Suzuki 2'07.211 1.681
11 41 spain Aleix Espargaro  Aprilia 2'07.431 1.901
12 45 united_kingdom Scott Redding  Aprilia 2'07.459 1.929
13 9 italy Danilo Petrucci  Ducati 2'07.523 1.993
14 53 spain Tito Rabat  Ducati 2'07.662 2.132
15 19 spain Alvaro Bautista  Ducati 2'07.874 2.344
16 44 spain Pol Espargaro  KTM 2'07.948 2.418
17 38 united_kingdom Bradley Smith  KTM 2'08.161 2.631
18 12 switzerland Thomas Luthi  Honda 2'08.234 2.704
19 21 italy Franco Morbidelli  Honda 2'08.372 2.842
20 55 malaysia Hafizh Syahrin  Yamaha 2'08.819 3.289
21 26 spain Dani Pedrosa  Honda 2'09.111 3.581
22 17 czech_republic Karel Abraham  Ducati 2'09.327 3.797
23 43 australia Jack Miller  Ducati 2'09.708 4.178
24 10 belgium Xavier Simeon  Ducati 2'10.426 4.896
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