Latest MotoGP Results
Marc Marquez is fastest once again in Austin, the reigning world champion topping the final session of free practice ahead of qualifying. But the gap is definitely closing: his advantage at the end of FP4 was down to just a third of a second, with riders now focusing in this final session on race set up rather than setting a fast lap.
Andrea Iannone ended the session in 2nd, setting an impressive pace using Dani Pedrosa's slipstream. Iannone ended 0.367 behind Marquez, and nearly a tenth ahead of Pedrosa. Stefan Bradl took 4th on the LCR Honda, making it three Hondas in the top four, while Valentino Rossi rounded out the top five.
FP4 also gave a glimpse of possible tire use for the race. Marquez and Pedrosa spent almost all the session on the harder tire, while Rossi and the other Yamaha riders put in the time on the softer of the two options for the Factory Option riders. Iannone, like the other Ducatis, worked with the medium tire, the harder of their two options, the soft wearing much too fast to be able to actually use in the race.
Thomas Luthi set the fastest Moto2 lap of the day to top the timesheet in the third practice session Saturday at Austin's COTA. Luthi's 2'10.871 didn't match the top times from 2013 or even 2014's FP2, but it was enough to put him six-hundreths clear of Maverick Vinales' second-fastest showing.
Tito Rabat, winner in Qatar, finished as the third fastest rider headed into qualifying later Saturday. Jonas Folger (4th) and Johann Zarco (fifth) completed the top five. Zarco, fastest in the prior two practices, was unable to dip into the 2'10s as he did on Friday. In fact, Luthi's top FP3 time Saturday didn't match Zarco's fastest lap in Friday's FP2 of 2'10.839.
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Marc Marquez didn't set the fastest-ever lap at Austin's Circuit of the Americas Saturday during the third qualifying practice; His fast lap of 2'03.046 fell four-hundredths of a second shy of his own lap record from last year. Even so, the reigning world champion ended the third free practice seven-tenths clear of the pack in the session that sets the table for the two MotoGP qualifying practices later in the day.
Stefan Bradl managed the second-best time, just eclipsing Honda factory rider Dani Pedrosa (3rd). Andrea Dovizioso continued his strong practice showing with a fourth-fastest time on his Ducati, nearly nine-tenths of a second behind the leader.
Bradley Smith rebounded from his struggles in FP2 -- where he was 10th fastest -- to grab the fifth spot. Smith was the final rider to finish within a second of Marquez and even topped the sheets in one of the four lap sectors.
But what's good for Smith is worrisome for Yamaha. Not only did rival Honda grab the top three times, Smith, in fifth, is the top Yamaha. Factory rider Jorge Lorenzo, who started strong in FP3, faded late to seventh, finishing just behind Andrea Iannone's Ducati (6th).
Efren Vazquez, fastest rider in Friday's final free practice, showed no signs of slowing down Saturday morning during FP3 at Austin's Circuit of the Americas. Vazquez's time of 2'16.524 not only put him at the top of the timesheet, he was the sole rider to dip into the 2'16s during the breezy, cool, morning session.
Alex Marquez put in a fast final lap to grab the second spot, more than half a second behind the leader. Alex Rins took third, just another tenth behind Marquez. Rins third gives Honda the top three times heading into qualifying. Niccolo Antonelli grabbed fourth as the top KTM. Isaac Vinales (5th) and Jakob Kornfeil (6th) rounded out the top six. The top six riders are all within a second of the leader.
Jack Miller -- winner of the last race at Qatar -- led much of the session but with seven minutes left lap times started to fall, pushing him into seventh at slightly more than a second behind.
Johann Zarco made this point clear to the Moto2 field: The first free practice was no fluke. Zarco, who finished sixth in the race here last year, set the fastest time for the second practice in a row Friday at the COTA circuit with a 2'10.839. He was the only Moto2 rider to dip into the 2'10s.
The time is two-tenths of a second better than Dominic Aegerter's second fastest showing and just three-tenths slower than the pole-position time from last year (set by Scott Redding).
Tito Rabat also upped his pace from FP1 but only closed to third-fastest, three-tenths shy of of Zarco's time. Maverick Vinales (4th) and Xavier Simeon (5th) ended their day only four-thousandths of a second apart.
For all joy in the Caterham-Suter team with Zarco's pace, there also came a sobering reality: Teammate and lone American in Moto2 -- former AMA superbike champion and Moto2 rookie Josh Herrin -- nearly gave the team the odd distinction of having both the fastest and slowest times on the sheet with his 30th-place showing, nearly four seconds off the pace.
Perhaps it was the rumor that a certain retired Australian was in Texas and planned to stop by. Regardless, Marc Marquez did his best Casey Stoner impression during FP2 when he gapped the field by more than a full second Friday at Austin's Circuit of the Americas. Marquez's time -- 2'03.490 -- was just four-tenths of a second from his pole position lap in 2013.
Andrea Dovisioso again showed the short-term quickness of the Ducati with a 2'04.485, almost exactly one second slower than Marquez's time. Dani Predrosa upped his pace late to grab third, another tenth back. Ducati's other Andrea -- the Iannone model -- managed an impressive fifth on his satellite bike. Valentino Rossi, who held third early in practice, dropped to fifth, just in front of Aleix Espargaro and his open class Yamaha in sixth.
Stefan Bradl, who ran strong in Qatar before crashing out, sits in seventh. An obviously irritated Jorge Lorenzo climbed into eighth after spending much of the day's final MotoGP practice in 11th. Cal Crutchlow (9th) and Bradley Smith (10th) rounded out the top 10.