The Circuit of the Americas has been Marc Márquez territory since 2013, his rookie season in MotoGP, when he took the first of his five consecutive victories at the American circuit.
The Spaniard looks unlikely to loosen his grip having started this year’s event on top form, with only a late effort from Andrea Iannone as the chequered flag beckoned denying him top spot in free practice. Behind the leading pair, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi made a decent start to the third round of the season, with series leader Cal Crutchlow fifth on a day that saw Dani Pedrosa return from his injury in Argentina and subsequent surgery to lap tenth fastest.
The Ángel Nieto Team spent the day laying foundations for the weekend on a circuit that was some way off the best condition it has previously been in. Karel Abraham was the fastest of the team’s two riders, in eighteenth overall, after making improvements in the second session that he hopes he can carry through to tomorrow.
Álvaro Bautista continued to struggle for feedback from the tyre and the fact the track surface was so dirty today did not help his cause. The Ángel Nieto Team rider will be working with his team tomorrow to improve his pace and his position.
21st Álvaro Bautista 2:06.683 (30 laps):
“It has been a difficult day. We have the same problem as recent races, with a lack of feel from the tyre. We tried some different things but couldn’t improve. The track was also dirty and I just didn’t feel comfortable on the bike. The bike is not turning well on the throttle in the longer corners and since we have not found a solution on the rear we need to work hard with the front to get it to turn. Let’s see if we can find some time tomorrow.”
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