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Austin MotoGP: Marquez back on top in final practice

Marc Marquez fastest during free practice (4) session for the inaugural MotoGP of the Americas at Austin, Texas.
Marc Marquez led the fourth and final free practice session, just prior to the start of qualifying for the inaugural MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Marquez had earlier seen his unbeaten COTA run end at the hands of team-mate Dani Pedrosa in FP3, when the rookie suffered an early fall.

The short, 30-minute, FP4 saw Marquez - running the harder tyre options front and rear - clock the fastest lap of the weekend so far on his way to an advantage of 0.040s over Pedrosa.

Marquez also got to within half a second of his best time at the pre-season test.

Pedrosa set his best lap with the softer rear, as did Yamaha's world champion and 2013 title leader Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo was again seen in animated conversation with crew chef Ramon Forcada on his way to third place, 0.9s from Marquez.

Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow was a fraction slower in fourth, with LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl another to put serious time in with the harder rear in fifth. Andrea Dovizioso continued his top Ducati form with sixth, but 1.8s from Marquez.

Lorenzo's team-mate Valentino Rossi remained down in seventh, +1.9s, using the softer rear. Alvaro Bautista (Gresini Honda), Nicky Hayden (Ducati) and Andrea Iannone (Pramac Ducati) completed the top ten.

The new qualifying format will now begin, starting with Q1, where those outside of the top ten after third free practice will fight for the last two places in Q2. Both qualifying sessions are just 15-minutes in length.

Free practice (4):
1. Marc Marquez
2. Dani Pedrosa
3. Jorge Lorenzo
4. Cal Crutchlow
5. Stefan Bradl
6. Andrea Dovizioso
7. Valentino Rossi
8. Alvaro Bautista
9. Nicky Hayden
10. Andrea Iannone
11. Aleix Espargaro
12. Randy De Puniet
13. Ben Spies
14. Bradley Smith
15. Hector Barbera
16. Yonny Hernandez
17. Colin Edwards
18. Karel Abraham
19. Michael Laverty
20. Hiroshi Aoyama
21. Claudio Corti
22. Danilo Petrucci
23. Lukas Pesek
24. Bryan Staring
25. Blake Young
26. Mike Barnes

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