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MotoGP Valencia: Marquez pips Lorenzo in opening practice

Marc Marquez fastest during Free Practice 1 for the Valencia MotoGP season finale.
CLICK HERE to view full Free Practice 1 results for the Valencia MotoGP.

Jorge Lorenzo kept his Yamaha clear of the field for most of opening practice for the Valencia MotoGP season finale - only to be pipped by Marc Marquez on his very final lap.

Lorenzo, embroiled in a fight for second in the overall standings with team-mate Valentino Rossi, ruled the timesheets from the 11th of the 45 minutes.

However newly crowned double world champion Marquez made a late push to place his Repsol Honda 0.193s clear of the #99 M1 as the chequered flag was waved.

Marquez is seeking a record 13th win of the season this weekend, while Lorenzo's focus is on overturning Rossi's a twelve point advantage for second in the final standings. Rossi was fifth this morning (+0.471s).

Between Lorenzo and Rossi were Open class star Aleix Espargaro (+0.344s) and Marquez's team-mate Dani Pedrosa (+0.351s). Already confirmed as fourth in the world championship, victory for Pedrosa this weekend would at least put him equal with Rossi and Lorenzo on two wins this season.

Lorenzo won last year's Valencia race despite go-slow tactics to try and bring other riders into his title fight with Marquez.

Outside of the frontrunners, the main focus was on the debut of Suzuki, entering its first MotoGP event since 2011 courtesy of a wild-card entry for development rider Randy de Puniet.

The Frenchman is riding the new GSX-RR, which has an inline four-cylinder engine rather than the V4 used for Suzuki's previous machine. The bike hasn't troubled the established leaders in official tests this year and de Puniet - who raced in grand prix from 1999 until the end of 2013 - finished FP1 in 16th place (+2.049s).

The GSX-RR set an average top speed (over five laps, to negate any slipstreaming) of 306km/h, compared with a peak of 328km/h by Pedrosa.

The Suzuki isn't the only new bike on the grid this weekend with Aspar's Hiroshi Aoyama giving the 2015 Honda RC213V-RS Open class bike its race debut.

The 'RS' should offer a substantial increase in power over this year's RCV1000R, since it uses the Factory RC213V engine, and is Honda's response to the class leading Forward Yamaha.

Aoyama was only 20th quickest this morning as he got to know what is described as an all-new bike. However he did set an average top speed of 322km/h, 11km/h quicker than the best RCV1000R, ahead of the Factory Yamahas of Bradley Smith and Jorge Lorenzo and only 2km/h behind Marquez's top speed average.

Aoyama is eight points behind Scott Redding in the fight to be the top Open Honda in the world championship. The Japanese will step back from racing to become a HRC test rider next year.

Filling the top ten behind Rossi were Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati), Pol Espargaro (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Ducati wild-card Michele Pirro.

Espargaro broke a bone in his foot last time out in Malaysia, but needs to defend a seven point lead over team-mate Bradley Smith for sixth and the top satellite rider in this year's standings.

Andrea Iannone was back in action after being forced to withdraw from the Sepang weekend due to arm injuries in practice. The Italian began his final weekend at Pramac Ducati with 15th.

Iannone is taking over Cal Crutchlow's seat at the factory Ducati team next year. Crutchlow, heading for LCR Honda on Monday, made his Desmosedici debut at the same circuit one year ago. The Englishman was 13th in FP1.

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

Tagged as: Honda , Marquez

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November 07, 2014 11:07 AM

As I posted a few days ago.....rules are being discussed to stop riders dawdling around waiting for a tow in practice and Qualifying. Better late than never and we'll see if it is effective, and what, if any, difference it makes.

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