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MotoGP Q&A: Herve Poncharal Part 1

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The 2018 MotoGP Championship took zero time off following a confusing round two at Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina.

After a short four-day break, the riders were on track Friday for the first day of practice at the Circuit of the America in Texas for round three of 19.

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This is Marc Marquez land; the four-time MotoGP Champion has won every round there from pole since the venue joined MotoGP in 2013.

2018 Austin MotoGP Friday Results: Suzuki's Andrea Iannone
Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone

As Marquez looks to make it six for six, he was quick Friday. But not quick enough. Marquez, who was penalized three separate times in Argentina, and suffered a small crash Friday at COTA, finished second – 0.056 off the top time.

Leading the opening day of practice at Circuit of the Americas was Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone, the “Maniac” posting a quickest time of 2:04.599. To put this time into perspective the Fastest Lap at COTA (Marquez, 2014, qualifying) is a 2:02.135.

2018 Austin MotoGP Friday Results: Honda's Marc Marquez
Honda’s Marc Marquez

“I have a good feeling at this circuit, and a good feeling with the bike,”

Andrea Iannone said. “The conditions are difficult because the track is dirty, but it’s the same for everybody. I’m really happy because we worked in a good way today, and the most important thing is to continue like this tomorrow and remain focused.

“For sure the target for us is to stay at the top during qualifying, because overtaking is difficult so it’s better to start at the front for the race. It’s hard to recover from the back, and harder to show our potential. We hope to improve tomorrow, and I believe that anything is possible because I feel positive and ready to fight for the top.”

2018 Austin MotoGP Friday Results: Yamaha's Maverick Vinales
Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales

When Friday ended, the top eight riders were within a second of each other. Finishing behind Marquez were the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo of Maverick Vinales (-0.264) and Valentino Rossi (-0.359).

2018 Austin MotoGP Friday Results: Yamaha's Valentino Rossi
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

Fifth went to Argentina winner Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda Castrol RC213V, the Brit once again the top Independent Team Rider.

Rounding out the top 10 in combined results Friday were Team Suzuki’s Alex Rins, the Ducati Team of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Esparagaro and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.

The riders return to the Austin Formula 1 circuit Saturday for two additional free practices followed by qualifying. There’s a threat of rain, so we may see something new happen at COTA – but it’d be hard to bet against the King of the Lone Star State Marc Marquez.

Photo by Luciano Bianchetto

2018 Austin MotoGP Friday Results: Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo
Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo

2018 Austin MotoGP Friday Practice Results, Combined:

1. Andrea IANNONE Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2’04.599

2. Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 2’04.655 0.056 / 0.056

3. Maverick VIÑALES Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2’04.863 0.264 / 0.208

4. Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2’04.958 0.359 / 0.095

5. Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL 2’05.088 0.489 / 0.130

6. Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2’05.452 0.853 / 0.364

7. Jorge LORENZO Ducati Team 2’05.487 0.888 / 0.035

8. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 2’05.647 1.048 / 0.160

9. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2’05.739 1.140 / 0.092

10. Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team 2’05.761 1.162 / 0.022

11. Danilo PETRUCCI Alma Pramac Racing 2’05.889 1.290 / 0.128

12. Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing 2’05.910 1.311 / 0.021

13. Johann ZARCO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2’05.933 1.334 / 0.023

14. Jack MILLER Alma Pramac Racing 2’06.016 1.417 / 0.083

15. Scott REDDING Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2’06.078 1.479 / 0.062

16. Hafizh SYAHRIN Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2’06.219 1.620 / 0.141

17. Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU 2’06.397 1.798 / 0.178

18. Karel ABRAHAM Angel Nieto Team 2’06.555 1.956 / 0.158

19. Thomas LUTHI EG 0,0 Marc VDS 2’06.625 2.026 / 0.070

20. Franco MORBIDELLI EG 0,0 Marc VDS 2’06.640 2.041 / 0.015

21. Alvaro BAUTISTA Angel Nieto Team 2’06.683 2.084 / 0.043

22. Bradley SMITH Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2’07.033 2.434 / 0.350

23. Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2’07.136 2.537 / 0.103

24. Xavier SIMEON Reale Avintia Racing 2’08.021 3.422 / 0.885


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Source : https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2018/04/21/2018-austin-motogp-friday-results-suzukis-iannone-tops-marquez/

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