Marquez leads the chasing pack on day one at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Repsol Honda rider fastest in first two practice sessions on debut at US track

Marc Marquez leaped to the top of the timings on the first day of practice ahead of the Red Bull US Grand Prix with the Repsol Honda rookie leading both of today’s sessions. Marquez was followed into second by LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl while sealing third was a gutsy Andrea Dovizioso on the Ducati Team GP13.

I'm happy with this first day, so we'll see if tomorrow we can continue in the same way.

Marc Marquez

The conditions couldn’t have been better for the young Spaniard as he set out on the Californian track for the first time in his career and he got to grips with the undulating circuit immediately on his RC213V and by the end of this afternoon’s second Free Practice session Marquez had set a best time of 1m 22.040s. Bradl was also up to speed quickly and managed a best lap of 1m 22.269s while Dovizioso stormed into third place late on in the afternoon session.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi was impressive today on his YZR-M1 and the seven times MotoGP World Champion was just off the front three with his best lap of 1m 22.346s while Cal Crutchlow continues to pile on the pressure on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine with a best time today of 1m 22.457s. Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo (1m 22.467s) continues his heroics with the reigning World Champion nursing a severely damaged left collarbone that was operated on twice in two weeks.

Aleix Espargaro once again was the fastest CRT rider by a mile with the Power Electronics Aspar man in 7th with a best lap of 1m 22.531s while Alvaro Bautista put in a strong performance on the Go&Fun Honda Gresini machine with a best time of 1m 22.539s. Fresh from his announcement yesterday that he would continue with the Ducati Team next year, two-time US GP winner Nicky Hayden finished day one in 9th with a best lap of 1m 22.733s while Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith finished 10th and setting a best lap time of 1m 22.767s.

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP

Photo by: Bridgestone Corporation

Despite being given the all clear to compete today, Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa did not look comfortable on his machine and the Spaniard ended the day in 11th after deciding not to go on track until this afternoon with a danger now that he will not make the automatic qualifying position in FP3 tomorrow. Pedrosa’s best lap of 1m 23.129s was just quicker than that of Avintia Blusens rider Hector Barbera (1m 23.158s) with Randy De Puniet in 13th for the Power Electronics Aspar machine on a best time of 1m 23.437s.

Alex De Angelis returns to the MotoGP paddock this weekend with the rider from San Marino filling in for the Ignite Pramac Racing team and ending the day in 14th on a best lap of 1m 23.973s while Danilo Petrucci set the 15th best time of 1m 24.047s for the Came IodaRacing team. Claudio Corti (NGM Mobile Forward Racing) set the 16th best time of 1m 24.180s with the Italian one place ahead of his teammate Colin Edwards who set a best lap of 1m 24.410s. Karel Abraham was a faller in the second session and the Cardion AB Motoracing rider finished in 18th today on a best time of 1m 24.421s with Hiroshi Aoyama in 19th for the Avintia Blusens team (1m 24.473s).

Yonny Hernandez set the 20th best lap of 1m 24.555s. Hernandez’s teammate Michael Laverty finished in 21st with a best lap of 1m 24.727s with Australian rider Bryan Staring in 22nd for the Go&Fun Honda Gresini CRT team while wildcard Blake Young ended day one in 23rd for the Attack Performance Racing team on a best lap of 1m 25.764s with the American rider also falling in the second session. The final place went to Lukas Pesek and the Came IodaRacing team with a best lap of 1m 27.173s.

Speaking afterwards, Marquez was happy with how his first day went . He said, “In the first free practice the most important thing was to remain calm and take it slowly, and that is what we did. Also, the track conditions and the mist made things tricky. During the first few minutes I was a little stressed on the bike, because I had a lot of work to do. It's a brand new track for me, but it is fun. It is very narrow and short, with many bumps so it took a bit of adapting on my behalf. In the second session I found things much more comfortable, I started to enjoy myself and found a pace that was not bad at all. We were fastest, but the time we clocked is still a little off the track record. I'm happy with this first day, so we'll see if tomorrow we can continue in the same way and continue to learn the circuit"

Bradl was very pleased with his pace today and said, “Already this morning, with tricky track conditions, we have shown our pace but honestly the working plan was not perfect. We made some small mistakes but, in the afternoon we went back to our standard rhythm. Actually I was the first guy out on hard tire but it did not work properly so we lost some track time on that rubber. After that I checked both bikes once again as we compared two different swing arm lengths and I already chose the one for the race. Finally I went out on soft tire and could make a very good lap time but the session was suddenly red-flagged. Basically we took the right direction but we still need to improve the front-end in the breaking areas."

Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team

Photo by: Ducati Corse

Dovizioso put in a strong performance this afternoon and was really satisfied with his provisional front row. He said, “It’s always nice to see your name up high on the monitors! I had Marquez as a distant reference point, but the lap was really good. Anyway, I have the sensation that we’re closer than at the other tracks, and although Laguna is quite unusual, our GP13 is working a bit better here. Our pace isn’t bad, but that’s the case for many of the riders, so we’ll have to see tomorrow. It’s too early to make predictions, but I’m pleased with how we started today. I only rode with the new frame, and the difference is really minimal, although I can’t say exactly because I didn’t do a comparison. I don’t think there are any downsides, so we’ll continue with it."

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Bradley Smith , Colin Edwards , Hector Barbera , Alvaro Bautista , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Lukas Pesek , Blake Young , Michael Laverty , Claudio Corti , Cal Crutchlow , Stefan Bradl , Hiroshi Aoyama , Aleix Espargaro , Dani Pedrosa , Karel Abraham , Marc Marquez , Yonny Hernandez , Danilo Petrucci , Bryan Staring
Teams Forward Racing , Pramac Racing , Yamaha Factory Racing , Ducati Team , Tech 3 , AB Motoracing
Article type Practice report
Tags bradl, dovizioso, ducati, featured, hatch, honda, laguna seca, lcr, marquez, repsol