16 August 2013
Marquez 'feeling good', Pedrosa 'cautious', Spies returns
"My feeling at the moment is pretty good!" - Marc Marquez.
Rookie MotoGP title leader Marc Marquez set the quickest lap time during his premier-class debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday morning.
The 20-year-old Spaniard took control of the first practice session shortly after the midway mark, on his way to a 0.3s advantage over nearest rival Cal Crutchlow (Tech 3 Yamaha).
"It's important after the summer break to find your rhythm with the bike again and my feeling at the moment is pretty good!” said Marquez, winner of the last two races and both previous 2013 events on American soil.
“The track was quite slippery which made things difficult, but anyway I'm sure it will improve and the times will drop. We need to continue in the same way but at the moment we are happy.”
Marquez currently holds a 16 point title lead over Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who was a cautious seventh quickest in FP1. Pedrosa, like Yamaha's reigning MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo, has used the summer break to recover from collarbone injuries.
"I was a little cautious this morning, going out on the track for the first time, as normally it's very slippery here in the first sessions,” said Pedrosa. “I was a little stiff on the bike so I need some more time to find the feeling again after the Summer break. I'm sure this afternoon and lap-by-lap I will loosen up on the bike and feel more comfortable. The pain is already less from Laguna so this is already a positive!"
Lorenzo was third quickest this morning while another healing rider, Ben Spies, took to the track for the first time since Mugello in June (when he withdrew before the Italian race).
The Pramac Ducati rider was eleventh quickest this morning, 1.7s from Marquez and within 0.7s of the factory Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden. But most importantly, the shoulder he injured in Malaysia last October, was no longer a hindrance.
"My shoulder is physically good," said Spies, who hasn't started a MotoGP race since round two. "I'm just feeling it in other parts of the body, like shin muscles and calf muscles that you need for shifting but that I haven't been using too much. Other than that, I feel good.
"It's the first time I've been able to ride the bike and have strength since last year, so it was quite a bit different. I actually enjoyed riding today, unlike at the beginning of the year, but I really felt like it was my first time riding the bike in a long time — and in fact it's been 12 of 13 weeks since Mugello.
"We're just kind of taking it step by step. I guess to be as close as we were, it's a good point. We know we're not going to be on the podium this weekend, and I don't have an ambition to be the fastest Ducati. It's just a matter of getting back into the rhythm and getting comfortable with pushing the bike. For starting out, it wasn't too bad.”
FP2 takes place this afternoon.
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