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US MotoGP: Marquez fastest on Laguna Seca debut

Marc Marquez leads a top eight covered by just half-a-second during Free Practice 2 for the US MotoGP at Laguna Seca.
Marc Marquez's spectatcular smash-and-grab riding style proved a perfect match for the challenging Laguna Seca circuit - the rookie title leader setting the pace on day one of the US MotoGP.

Laguna Seca is the only circuit on the calendar that Marquez will start without previously turning a wheel at, but the Repsol Honda star was a close third in the morning session and unmatchable in the afternoon.

Stefan Bradl got closest, with Andrea Dovizioso snatching a late third ahead of Valentino Rossi - the top four being covered by only 0.306s.

After a chilly morning, the Californian sunshine made a welcome appearance for FP2, aiding lap times in the process.

Cal Crutchlow's 1m 22.757s morning best was beaten, by the Englishman, after just eight minutes. Hard front tyres then began to make their first appearance, which Rossi took to the top soon after. The Italian, whose only Laguna victory came in the memorable 2008 showdown with Casey Stoner, continued to reign until halfway stage of the 45 minutes, when Marquez took over.

The fearless 20-year-old had taken lap times to the brink of the 1m 21s when the session was interrupted, with eleven minutes to go, by a fall for wild-card Blake Young. The American wild-card walked away but his heavily damaged bike leaked oil on the track.

The session restarted after a lengthy clean-up, overseen by former MotoGP rider Loris Capirossi, but Marquez's earlier 1m 22.040s remained unbeaten. Bradl eased the pressure on his shoulders with second place for LCR Honda, 0.229s from Marquez, with Ducati's Dovizioso, Rossi and Crutchlow completing a top five covered by 0.417s.

If Saturday morning proves as damp and chilly as Friday, the top ten combined practice times - granting automatic entry to the second and final part of qualifying - may have been decided by the FP2 results.

Two riders especially keen to avoid having to take part in an extra Q1 session are injured title contenders Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.

It was mission accomplished in that sense for Lorenzo - injured in FP2 at the last two events - who claimed a sore sixth place, but Pedrosa must do more on Saturday if he wishes to avoid Q1. After sitting out the morning session to rest his shoulder, Pedrosa was just eleventh - albeit just one second from team-mate Marquez - in the afternoon.

Pedrosa, riding with a cracked collarbone, trails Marquez by just two points. Lorenzo, riding with a broken and twice plated collarbone, is eleven points from the top.

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

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Dovizioso and Barbera, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
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Bradl, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Bradl, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Bradl, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Dovizioso, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014

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mrfill

July 20, 2013 12:46 AM

@Ivor Marquez's first 2 years in 125s were with KTM who did not provide 'excellent kit'. Slow as a dog. But MM threw it around and ended up 7th. Nearest other KTM was 20th ish. When he got on the Derbi he flew from the start. In Moto2 he was on the suter but then so were a lot of others, but none as successful. Now he is on one of the top 2 bikes in the field and after 8 races, leads the championship. And that is why he gets excellent kit/support. He is the golden goose they have been waiting for.



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