Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone set a shock fastest time in second free practice for MotoGP's Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin on Friday afternoon.
Having spent much of the session playing second fiddle to Honda’s Marc Marquez, Iannone pulled out an amazing lap of 2m04.599s in the dying moments to beat Marquez – the renowned master of Austin – by 0.056s.
Weather conditions remained cool at the start of the session, but the sun finally broke through the clouds and appeared to switch on the tyres in the closing moments of the session.
Marquez had led from the start, working down to 2m05.287s on his opening run. On his second run, Marquez – using a hard rear tyre – whirled around in 2m04.963s, 0.85s ahead with 20 minutes to go.
He then fell on the very next lap, losing the front end as he turned in at Turn 11, but was able to climb back aboard and coast back to the pits.
He re-emerged in the closing moments to lower his time fractionally to 2m04.951s, then worked down to 2m04.655s before Iannone pulled out his last-gasp stormer.
Maverick Vinales was third-fastest, 0.264s off the pace, ahead of Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi.
Points leader Cal Crutchlow was fifth fastest on his LCR Honda, ahead of Suzuki’s Alex Rins, and the Ducatis of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso.
KTM’s Pol Espargaro fell after losing the front at Turn 15 without injury or much damage, while LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami fell in the closing moments at Turn 5.
During the session, Honda’s injured Dani Pedrosa was caught flexing his broken wrist and bowing his head in pain. He ended the session in 10th place, behind lead Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro.
Tech 3's Johann Zarco was among those to miss out on a place in the top 10, which could leave him facing Q1 should rain materialise on Saturday morning as forecast.