Andrea Iannone gave a timely reminder of his talents by putting Suzuki on top of the timesheets during day one of the Austin MotoGP.

The Italian, in the shadow of young team-mate Alex Rins at the previous two rounds, put his GSX-RR 0.056s ahead of COTA-king Marc Marquez at the very end of FP2.

Iannone explained that his situation hasn’t been as bad as it appears this season, but also that it's critical for him to qualify well due to a lack of top speed hurting his overtaking potential.

Rins was 14th and Iannone 17th through the speed trap this afternoon, the former MotoGP race winner exactly 10km/h slower than the Ducati of Danilo Petrucci.

"The track is a bit difficult and dirty but it's the same for everybody," Iannone said.

"I'm happy because we worked in a good way. The important thing is to continue like this. It'll be really important to stay on the top in qualifying, because I have a big problem to overtake and I need to start in front to stay in front for the race.

"When I start from the back it's impossible for me to recover because of the overtake. It's not a good situation because we cannot use 100% of the potential, so we will try to start from the top tomorrow."

One of Iannone's targets will be to improve in braking, which would also help his overtaking chances in the race.

"In T3 [with the main straight] I lose two or three tenths! It's really important for me to improve the bike on the braking point for tomorrow and Sunday. So I hope and pray the engineers have some solution for me.

Although Iannone was quickest for a single lap, with the soft rear tyre, Marquez - running the hard rear tyre - had the best pace. The reigning world champion is chasing a sixth COTA win in a row.

"Marquez is always fast here but I think in any case we will continue to work like this and nothing is impossible," Iannone said.

"For sure I believe always at the best. I think positive. It's important for us to stay at the top and fight and then we'll see. But for sure at the moment Marquez has a little bit more than everybody."

Reflecting on his 9-8 results in the first two rounds, Iannone added:

"I'm sure that in the first two races I did not use all the potential of the bike but for some situation, because in Argentina in the first practice I was third, close to the top and the feeling with the bike was good in the dry.

Also in the wet I was fourth-fifth in every practice but when qualifying arrived I was twelfth! In the race it was mixed conditions so the racing line was dry but if you went off it was wet and easy to crash. It was really dangerous.

"My name is Iannone and if I made a mistake, touch another rider and both crash it's a complete disaster for me! For sure I try to manage at the best, finish the race and get some points.

"Today we are closer than normal and this is really important for us because after a long year last year, where we struggled a lot, now step-by-step we are always more close. This is most important.

"We show all the work from me and from Suzuki and I'm really happy about this.

"Now we need to improve in some areas, especially the braking points and turning, for Sunday and then fight."

Rins, believed to have a new Suzuki contract ready to sign, was sixth quickest.





Loading Comments...