Marquez set a best time of 2’03.490s on his Repsol Honda to lead the way in Austin, Texas where he took his first premier class checkered in 2013. Saturday’s FP3 and 4 sessions remain before qualifying gets underway to determine who will sit on the pole position for the 2014 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas race on Sunday. Marquez set his best Friday time on Bridgestone’s hard tire and was less than 0.5s from his own pole record set on a medium tire 12 months ago. Ducati Team’s Dovizioso was the best of the rest using a softer tire, while Marquez led his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa by 1.133s. Ducati rider Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) also made use of a soft compound to lap fourth quickest.
The best of the Yamaha riders was Valentino Rossi at a circuit which he admits he found tricky last season. The nine-time World Champion trailed Marquez by 1.3s. The impressive Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) lapped sixth quickest on the ‘Open’ Yamaha and outpaced Factory-equipped rivals Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) and Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) in seventh and eighth respectively. Lorenzo was apparently unable to make the most of the re-introduced 2013-spec Bridgestone tire for which he stated a preseason preference over the 2014 version. Ducati Team’s Cal Crutchlow and Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Bradley Smith rounded out the top ten behind Lorenzo. Below are the combined times for Free Practice sessions 1 and 2.