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Le Mans MotoGP: Marquez over Iannone in FP2, Rossi 10th

Marc Marquez fastest during Free Practice 2 for the 2014 French MotoGP at Le Mans.
CLICK HERE to view Free Practice 2 results for the 2014 French MotoGP.

Marc Marquez concluded Free Practice 2 for the French MotoGP at Le Mans on top of the timesheets by 0.007s from Ducati's Andrea Iannone.

Conditions were again bright and sunny, but with track temperatures having trebled to 39 degrees this afternoon. And while Marquez duly led both Friday sessions, it was far from a dominant FP2 for the reigning world champion.

Undefeated this season, Marquez had saved a big moment on entry to the final turn on his way to the fastest time early on in the afternoon session, only for the lap to be cancelled due to exceeding the track limits.

Like Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, Marquez then made what appeared to make an unsuccessful trial of the harder (medium compound) rear tyre and was only in tenth place as the midway point of the 45-minutes came and went.

Marquez emerged back on the soft rear with just over ten minutes to go and shot straight to the top, pushing his advantage to 0.602s over long-time leader Jorge Lorenzo soon after.

Pramac's Iannone cut that down to just 0.007s with the aid of the extra-soft rear tyre - only available to Ducati riders and the Open class - and while following Pedrosa. Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista and the home Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team's Bradley Smith - who had suffered a fall at the start of FP1 - moved into a late third and fourth to complete an unlikely line-up just behind Marquez.

Last year's wet Le Mans winner Pedrosa dropped from second this morning to fifth (+0.490s), but set his best time on lap 5 of a long 9 lap run. Pedrosa finished just ahead of LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl, both on track for the first time since undergoing arm pump surgery.

Lorenzo stuck to his new tactic of concentrating on the softer option rear tyre and looks in better shape than his seventh position would suggest. As well as leading for large parts of the afternoon, Lorenzo's best lap was set on lap 7 of a 9 lap run.

Movistar Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi looked in greater trouble, slipping from third in the morning to tenth (+1.046s) this afternoon, only fractionally improved on his FP1 time despite short runs of no more than four fast laps in this afternoon.

Unlike Lorenzo, who has opted to keep both of his bikes on the old chassis, Rossi has one new and one old chassis this weekend. The Italian will almost certainly need to try and improve in the cooler Saturday morning conditions to ensure direct access to Qualifying 2.

Between Lorenzo and Rossi on the Friday timesheets were Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso and Forward Yamaha's top Open class rider Aleix Espargaro, both within 0.682s of Marquez.

Dovizioso's team-mate Cal Crutchlow was surprising outpaced by Pramac's Yonny Hernandez, for eleventh, with Nicky Hayden the leading Production Honda rider in 14th and 1.5s from Marquez on the close timesheets.

Gresini Honda's Scott Redding fell on his way to 17th, while fellow rookie Broc Parkes only completed eleven laps due to technical issues with his PBM.

Free Practice 2:
1. Marc Marquez
2. Andrea Iannone
3. Alvaro Bautista
4. Bradley Smith
5. Dani Pedrosa
6. Stefan Bradl
7. Jorge Lorenzo
8. Andrea Dovizioso
9. Aleix Espargaro
10. Valentino Rossi
11. Pol Espargaro
12. Yonny Hernandez
13. Cal Crutchlow
14. Nicky Hayden
15. Colin Edwards
16. Hiroshi Aoyama
17. Scott Redding
18. Karel Abraham
19. Hector Barbera
20. Mike Di Meglio
21. Michael Laverty
22. Broc Parkes

Tagged as: Honda , Marquez

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May 16, 2014 3:18 PM

The main thing for Rossi is to get his bike sorted, and qualify on the front row. The idea that "he always goes better in the race than in qualifying" is old, it is a fan hope, and it leaves too much work for him to do. He is well and truly capable of qualifying well and racing well... I agree with DB8, the top five is different. It's good to liven things up a bit.

Laterrus: Rossi Fanboy #1

May 16, 2014 3:20 PM

I swear, what more does Rossi have to do to earn the respect of these critics? The dude is old by MotoGP standards and is STILL the top Yamaha in the standings and is STILL fast on race days! He has one bad practice session and BOOM, he's done for forever according to most posters. Rossi is Rossi and that should be enough. If I'm not mistaken, he's trying a new frame out this race. As we all know, that will take some tweaking. I think if people want to bet their money on something, it should be how long it will take Lorenzo to realize that the softer tires may not be the way to go. 1,2 maybe 3 races of the tires going off after 8 or 9 laps? Rossi is more competitive at this stage of the season than he was last year. That should say something about him and it should also prove that when his input is used, the bike he rides will be better. He knows what he's doing so, relax and watch him work! Also, be thankful we even still have him in MotoGP.

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