Marquez Friday’s fastest despite missing FP2

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The first practice session of the day for Moto3™ saw damp patches of the newly-resurfaced Sepang International Circuit hamper early laptimes, before the moisture dried off and times began to fall. MotoGP™ had a dry FP1 – topped by Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – before a downpour during Moto2™ saw track conditions worsen dramatically. With track changes and the new surface designed to deal with the inclement South East Asian weather, and Turn 15 especially changed and now off-camber, the grid could get a full taste of the new asphalt in wet and dry conditions on day 1.

With FP1 times out of reach after the rain, the times from the first session remained the combined timesheets for Friday, with Marquez heading the tables – despite missing FP2. As mentioned in the pre-event Press Conference by the new reigning Champion, Marquez has been suffering with illness ahead of the event and sat out FP2 with his place on the combined timesheets not under threat; focusing instead on recovering more fully for Saturday and qualifying. The 3-time MotoGP™ World Champion was over two tenths clear at the top.

Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was second fastest in FP1 and retains the place on combined times, with Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) impressing in P3 with a late leap up the tables in FP1.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) put in a bombastic performance to take fourth as he returns from injury following a crash in FP1 in Misano, with compatriot 9-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completing the top five.

Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was P7, just behind compatriot Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing), who returns to Avintia this weekend following his substitutions for Iannone at the factory Ducati Team. Yonny Hernandez (Pull&Bear Aspar) had a stunning session to spend some time in the top three, before ending Friday in P8 overall.

Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was ninth fastest as the Spaniard again impressed for the Noale factory, with 2010, 2012 and 2015 MotoGP™ World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completing the top ten after losing his final hot lap to a problem in sector two in FP1.

In the wet afternoon session, some riders got in some wet weather time as well as trying the Michelin intermediates, but it was Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) who finally topped FP2 from Crutchlow when conditions were just able to take slicks – with Hector Barbera, Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) completing the top five.

With weather for FP3 not a certainty in the unsure climate of Sepang, the biggest names who could find themselves out of Q2 if laptimes don’t improve on Saturday morning are Australian GP winner Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Motegi podium sitter Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team). The third practice session will be the final decider for direct entry to Q2, with Marquez leading the way and hoping to be back to full power for qualifying day.

Marc Marquez explains Andorra move

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Marquez Andorra

Marc Marquez emotionally spoke about his much maligned move to Andorra during the Superprestigio pre-event press conference. 

The MotoGP World Champion had come under immense criticism back in Spain about the news he was moving to Andorra. The news had been leaked by the Andorran government after Marquez filed an official request for residence. The move was mooted as a way to avoid paying the taxes in Spain.

Marquez however said that his move, 120km north from his current hometown of Cervera, is not motivated by taxes or money, but as a place he can train peacefully in the winter. Despite living in Andorra, Marquez said he will continue to pay his Spanish taxes, and retain his Spanish residency.

“Before speaking about the Dirt Track racing in Barcelona, I wanted to say something very important,” Marquez told the press room, in Spanish.

“I’d like to talk about the debate and the fuss that has been created over me this past week. It is difficult to say, because I never speak about my private life but I think that this is an important moment. Those who know me know that I have always been very straightforward and very honest.

“I am 21 years old, I live with my family and I have always had a very close relationship with them, but like any young person I decided to get my own space, my own house and [I chose] to live in Andorra because I’ve been there many winters, many times of the year and, above all, because I’ll also be there for many winters and many times of the year. It is an ideal and favourable environment to prepare myself physically.

“Taxes have not been the motivation. Moreover, I do not know what is going to happen in the future, but I want to make it clear that I pay and I’ll continue to pay my taxes in Spain.

“I know that there have been all kinds of opinions and all of them are respectable. I don’t want to justify myself to anyone here, but I think that there has been some very tough criticism aimed at me. In the end you never know when the career of a rider will end and, when I was 19 years old, I was about to leave racing after damaging my eyesight. Thanks to Dr. Bernat Sanchez I could return. This past week has been bad and I just want to thank all the people that have been supporting me and my family. The only thing I want is to continue enjoying riding my bike.”

Marquez had to pause to wipe away tears, showing he was visibly moved by the whole situation, but he hopes to put it all behind him now he’s given his side of the story. 

Marquez completes American hat-trick

Marc Marquez today claimed his forth win of the season.

Marc Marquez today claimed his third win in a row, and his forth of the season.

Marc Marquez capped a perfect weekend in Indiana to complete an American hat-trick as the rookie extends his lead at the head of the championship.

Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo rounded out the podium making it yet another all Spanish podium in 2013.

The MotoGP rookie was expected to win the race after being fastest in every session, although he didn’t make it easy for himself.

Jorge Lorenzo was the man who got the holeshot, and kept the lead for almost half the race distance, as the two Repsol Honda’s settled in behind the world champion.

It wasn’t until lap six that Marquez made his first move on his team mate. It was an aggressive pass around the outside of Pedrosa, before setting on catching the World Champion.

It was only five laps later when the rookie took the lead, with a similar move around the outside of Lorenzo before edging into the distance.

Speaking after the race Marquez said: “I didn’t make a good start but I knew before the race that the end was the most important part. During the first ten laps I just tried to follow Dani (Pedrosa) and Jorge (Lorenzo) and save the tyres. Once the fuel had gone down a little I went on the attack. Then I tried to push a bit more, I opened up a gap and I was able to enjoy sliding the bike. It was so good.”

When asked about the championship standings the rookie continued, “The 25 points are important. I feel great here in the USA and I’ve won three races here this year now. That’s important. Now we go back to Europe and we will try to continue in the same way.”

“I had a perfect weekend and I will try to repeat that in the future but it will be difficult. There are still a lot of races to go and Jorge and Dani have a lot more experience. I know I will be stronger at some circuits than others so we will see.”

Lorenzo and Pedrosa managed to stay in touch with Marquez, until with nine laps left Marquez managed to brake his rivals, and smashed out four blistering laps in 1.39.0′s, leading him to a win by +3.495 seconds.

Dani Pedrosa struggled to stay with Lorenzo, however with just three laps left in the race, the still recovering Honda rider decided that he couldn’t let Lorenzo take second for championship reasons, and hunted the world champion, before passing him on the penultimate lap, leaving the world champion further adrift and frustrated with third.

Valentino Rossi finished the race in fourth position after a fantastic battle with Cal Crutchlow and Alvaro Bautista which went right down to the last corner. The Italian was struggling down in seventh for more than half of the race, before his strategy suddenly came to him, as he started to lap with similar times to the leaders.

The Doctor caught, passed and dropped the slightly disappointing Bradl quickly before catching Crutchlow and Bautista who were in a race long battle for forth place with plenty of aggressive and exciting moves.

With just three laps left Rossi managed to get onto the back of the back of the fourth place battle.

Rossi first passed Bautista and then began pressuring the Tech3 rider, with places swapping and changing like a Moto2 race, and on the penultimate lap Rossi made his move, only to run wide letting Crutchlow back through to retake the position. But on the final corner Rossi dived back up the inside of Crutchlow, who in turn nearly took out Bautista, before the three riders all dragged to the line with Rossi pipping Crutchlow and Bautista.

With more final corner excitement to come, Hayden put a very hard pass on team mate Dovizioso to try to take 8th, however he ran wide, causing the teamamtes to touch, and both run wide over the rumble strip and the pass made them jump over the kerb onto the outside banking but as they returned to track, Bradley Smith snuck through and finished ahead the Ducati’s by 0.011s.

2013 MotoGP Indianapolis race results:

01- Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team – Honda RC213V – 27 laps in 44’52.463
02- Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda Team – Honda RC213V – + 3.495
03- Jorge Lorenzo – Yamaha Factory Racing – Yamaha YZR M1 – + 5.704
04- Valentino Rossi – Yamaha Factory Racing – Yamaha YZR M1 – + 19.895
05- Cal Crutchlow – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – Yamaha YZR M1 – + 19.955
06- Alvaro Bautista – GO&FUN Honda Gresini – Honda RC213V – + 20.061
07- Stefan Bradl – LCR Honda MotoGP – Honda RC213V – + 24.842
08- Bradley Smith – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – Yamaha YZR M1 – + 40.690
09- Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team – Ducati Desmosedici GP13 – + 40.701
10- Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team – Ducati Desmosedici GP13 – + 40.823
11- Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing – Ducati Desmosedici GP13 – + 59.668
12- Aleix Espargaro – Power Electronics Aspar – ART GP13 – + 06.650
13- Colin Edwards – NGM Mobile Forward Racing – FTR Kawasaki – + 1’09.462
14- Claudio Corti – NGM Mobile Forward Racing – FTR Kawasaki – + 1’15.207
15- Hiroshi Aoyama – Avintia Blusens – BQR FTR – + 1’20.159
16- Hector Barbera – Avintia Blusens – BQR FTR – + 1’25.897
17- Danilo Petrucci – CAME Iodaracing Project – Ioda Suter BMW – + 1’29.616
18- Michael Laverty – Paul Bird Motorsport – PBM 01 – + 1’36.388
19- Bryan Staring – GO&FUN Honda Gresini – FTR Honda MGP13 – + 1 lap

Marquez extends championship lead in Laguna

Marquez putting the already legendary pass on Rossi at the corkscrew.

Marquez putting the already legendary pass on Rossi at the corkscrew.

Marc Marquez stormed to his third victory of the season at Laguna Seca, and in doing so, extended his championship lead heading into the summer break.

Marquez impressed all weekend, and despite becoming the first MotoGP rookie to win at Laguna Seca, the race will be remembered for a pass on Valentino Rossi at the corkscrew, which was almost a carbon copy of the Italians move on Stoner at the same corner five years ago.

Behind Marquez, there was also cause for celebration as Stefan Bradl took his first ever MotoGP podium, backing up his first ever pole position. With Valentino Rossi holding off  Alvaro Bautista to round off the podium.

However it wasn’t Marquez till midway through the race, as pole sitter Stefan Bradl got the holeshot and he was followed immediately by Valentino Rossi got a blinding start from the head of the second row.

Marquez closed up to Rossi was it was on lap 3 where the now infamous pass took place. Rossi ran into the corkscrew deep, whilst Marquez went even wider, straight down the line Rossi took all those years ago. The move was deemed legit, and Marquez set about closing down his former Moto2 rival.

For 15 laps Bradl managed to lead and withstand the pressure of Marquez catching and closing, but at the end of the 15th lap, Marquez made the pass into the final corner, and then powered away from the German to claim his third win of the season.

“I already said to him that I will pay the copyright! When I saw the video of 2008 I thought ‘that is impossible’. But when I was there I let off the brakes a little because there was no space and I passed in the same place. The overtake that he did in 2008 was better because it was different, but okay I enjoyed it too!” laughed Marquez when talking about his move on Rossi.

“I am very happy, because we weren’t expecting this result from our first visit to Laguna Seca. I didn’t think I would adapt so easily to such a tricky circuit, but from the first day of practice I felt very comfortable and quickly found the best lines.

“Today I was a little cautious at the start, because with a full tank it is easy to make a mistake, but when the tyres got up to temperature I was able to maintain the pace from practice.

“I overtook Valentino in a similar spot to where he passed Casey in 2008, although the passes were a little different because his was more spectacular! Later I was able to pass Stefan after studying him for a number of laps, and then I tried to build a gap in order to win the race by a comfortable margin.”

Behind the top four there was the battle of the the two injured riders Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo who rode to 5th and 6th respectively. The world champion started the better of the two, but on lap 11 the Repsol Honda rider overtook Lorenzo, and managed to gap him comfortably. Despite gapping Lorenzo, Pedrosa never seriously threatened Bautista for fourth position.

Cal Crutchlow was disappointing, and finished seventh behind the two factory riders. Crutchlow wasn’t able to get amongst the factory riders and will be scratching his head going into the summer break.

The two factory Ducati’s of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso spent the entire race battling over eighth position, with local hero Hayden taking the ‘honour’ in possibly his final Laguna GP, after some hard moves both both Ducati’s.

Hector Barbera was the fastest CRT rider, rounding out the top 10 after both Aspar rider were unable to complete the race. Randy de Puniet suffered a mechanical problem, whilst Aleix Espargaro crashed on the final corner.

The MotoGP paddock are now on their summer break, and will reconvene in Indiana in four weeks time.

2013 MotoGP Laguna Seca race results:

1 MARQUEZ M.Repsol Honda Team
2 BRADL S.LCR Honda MotoGP +2.298
3 ROSSI V.Yamaha Factory Racing +4.498
4 BAUTISTA A.GO&FUN Honda Gresini +4.557
5 PEDROSA D.Repsol Honda Team +9.257
6 LORENZO J.Yamaha Factory Racing +12.970
7 CRUTCHLOW C.Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +15.304
8 HAYDEN N.Ducati Team +33.963
9 DOVIZIOSO A.Ducati Team +34.129
10 BARBERA H.Avintia Blusens +1:02.369
11 DE ANGELIS A.Ignite Pramac Racing +1:02.604
12 EDWARDS C.NGM Mobile Forward Racing +1:03.593
13 PETRUCCI D.Came IodaRacing Project +1:20.450