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Apr 12, 2014

Marquez Smashes Circuit Best Lap Record En Route To MotoGP Pole Position At COTA (Updated)

Marc Marquez (93).

FIM MotoGP World Championship

Circuit of The Americas, Austin, Texas

April 12, 2014

Qualifying Results (all using Bridgestone tires):

Qualifying Practice One Results (top two transfer to Qualifying Session Two):

1. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 2:04.440

2. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (FORWARD YAMAHA), 2:04.543, FTR, Open

3. Scott REDDING, UK (HONDA), 2:04.617, Open

4. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (HONDA), 2:05.062, Open

5. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (DUCATI), 2:05.677, Open

6. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Japan (HONDA), 2:05.788, Open

7. Karel ABRAHAM, Czech Republic (HONDA), 2:06.239, Open

8. Hector BARBERA, Spain (FTR-KAWASAKI), 2:06.270, Open

9. Colin EDWARDS, USA (FORWARD YAMAHA), 2:06.741, Open

10. Michael LAVERTY, UK (PBM-APRILIA), 2:06.939, Open

11. Broc PARKES, Australia (PBM-Aprilia), 2:07.403, Open

12. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (ART-APRILIA), 2:07.745, Open

13. Mike DI MEGLIO, France (FTR-KAWASAKI), 2:07.761, Open

Qualifying Practice Two Results:

1. Marc MARQUEZ, Spain (HONDA), 2:02.773

2. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 2:03.062

3. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 2:03.196

4. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (FORWARD YAMAHA), 2:03.240, Open

5. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), 2:03.243

6. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (YAMAHA), 2:03.244

7. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (DUCATI), 2:03.780, Open

8. Bradley SMITH, UK (YAMAHA), 2:03.800

9. Andrea IANNONE, Italy (DUCATI), 2:03.842, Open

10. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (DUCATI), 2:03.846, Open

11. Pol ESPARGARO, Spain (YAMAHA), 2:03.913

12. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 2:03.923

Combined Qualifying Results:

1. Marc MARQUEZ, Spain (HONDA), 2:02.773

2. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 2:03.062

3. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 2:03.196

4. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (FORWARD YAMAHA), 2:03.240, Open

5. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), 2:03.243

6. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (YAMAHA), 2:03.244

7. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (DUCATI), 2:03.780, Open

8. Bradley SMITH, UK (YAMAHA), 2:03.800

9. Andrea IANNONE, Italy (DUCATI), 2:03.842, Open

10. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (DUCATI), 2:03.846, Open

11. Pol ESPARGARO, Spain (YAMAHA), 2:03.913

12. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 2:03.923

13. Scott REDDING, UK (HONDA), 2:04.617, Open

14. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (HONDA), 2:05.062, Open

15. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (DUCATI), 2:05.677, Open

16. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Japan (HONDA), 2:05.788, Open

17. Karel ABRAHAM, Czech Republic (HONDA), 2:06.239, Open

18. Hector BARBERA, Spain (FTR-KAWASAKI), 2:06.270, Open

19. Colin EDWARDS, USA (FORWARD YAMAHA), 2:06.741, Open

20. Michael LAVERTY, UK (PBM-APRILIA), 2:06.939, Open

21. Broc PARKES, Australia (PBM-Aprilia), 2:07.403, Open

22. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (ART-APRILIA), 2:07.745, Open

23. Mike DI MEGLIO, France (FTR-KAWASAKI), 2:07.761, Open

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Marquez takes pole in Austin with Pedrosa 2nd in all-Honda front row

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez scored another record this afternoon with his pole position lap for tomorrow’s grand prix, at the track he celebrated his first pole position and victory in the premier class.

After leading every session so far in this weekend’s Red Bull GP of The Americas, Marc topped his pole time of 2013 (2’03.021) by 0.248s with a lap time of 2’02.773 on his final lap of 7 in this afternoon’s qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Teammate Dani Pedrosa found an improvement in his setup from yesterday, and starts from second on the grid alongside his teammate, with a time of 2’03.062. LCR Honda rider, Stefan Bradl, completed an all-Honda front row for tomorrow’s 21 lap race which will start at 14h00 local time.

Marc Marquez

1st - 2'02.773

“I’m very happy with how the weekend is going and with the qualifying session - especially taking pole position. I have a good feeling with the bike and have been setting a good pace ahead of tomorrow's race. We will try to get a good start and I'm sure we'll be fighting with Dani, as he is our strongest rival. I think that the beginning of the race will be the most important part, because with this heat the tyres suffer a lot. I will try to remain focused and have a good race!”

Dani Pedrosa

2nd - 2'03.062

“We improved the bike a lot today and I was able to ride much better than yesterday. I managed to come very close in qualifying and hope to take advantage of all my chances to win tomorrow's race. Last year we came second so I will look to take one step further tomorrow!”

More, from a press release issued by Movistar Yamaha:

Austin (Texas), 12th April 2014

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi secured fifth and sixth places respectively, just 0.001 seconds apart, this afternoon in qualifying for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of the Americas.

The 15minute shoot-out on the long Circuit of The Americas track (COTA) allowed little time for multiple hot laps so every second was crucial.

Lorenzo was first to record a time, taking what was his fastest lap of the weekend so far on his first flying lap to momentarily take the top spot. The 2’03.619 lap was challenged not long after, dropping him down the standings.

Teammate Rossi was also quick on the attack, his first lap a best of the weekend at that point, slotting in just outside the 2’03s with a 2’04.093. He then picked up the pace even further, closing in to less than a tenth from his teammate with a 2’03.670. Lorenzo managed to stay just ahead and the two Movistar Yamaha riders came in to pit around halfway, sitting in fourth and fifth respectively.

A lightening quick pit stop saw Lorenzo back out and putting it all in to his sixth lap. Despite going red through the first split he was unable to break into the 2’02s, taking a 2’03.243 on that final sixth flying lap to take fifth on the grid for the race, 0.470 seconds from Marc Marquez on pole.

Rossi’s efforts mirrored that of his teammate, putting it all in on the sixth lap to fight for the best possible grid start. He took an almost identical time to Lorenzo with a 2’03.244 lap for sixth, 0.471 seconds from first.

Jorge Lorenzo

5th / 2'03.243 / 7 laps

“The progression from the first practice on Friday is very big, we were two seconds behind and now half a second. Anyway, as I thought it’s going to be a hard race tomorrow. Our goal is to fight for fourth or third position, I think it would be a good result because here our competitors are really strong so we need to make the best result we can, to finish on the podium would be a good thing.”

Valentino Rossi

6th / 2'03.244 / 7 laps

“I am happy about today’s qualifying, especially because from this morning to the afternoon session we were able to improve the bike and in qualifying I was pretty fast. Following the last free practice we also made another step ahead and I enjoyed the qualifying session; I went well. I am happy to be on second row; it is not bad at all. I am also happy I am just four tenths from pole position. My pace is good, although we still have to work and cut some little tenth but I think tomorrow might be a good day for us.”

Massimo Meregalli

“Both the riders and the team have done a good job today. Last year in qualifying Jorge was a second behind and Valentino over two seconds off. Now both are within half a second of the front so the progress is clear to see. We still have some things to work out and maybe we can make another small step forward for the race. In Qatar we closed the gap over the practice sessions and were competitive at the front end during the race so we are confident that we can do the same here. The second row is not a bad place to start and the race is long and not won on the first lap. The weather could make things interesting for everyone so let’s see what Sunday brings us!”

More, from a press release issued by Cardion AB Motoracing:

Abraham speeds up in Austin and he will start from seventeenth position

Karel Abraham takes seventeenth position on the grid in second event of MotoGP season on the circuit in Austin, Texas. He improved his time almost by one second compared to the Friday’s free practices. With a maximum of 2:06,239 Czech rider loses approximately 3.5 seconds to the fastest rider Marc Marquez, who improved track record in qualifying practice.

Karel Abraham

"At the end we managed to find quite good setting, however in the morning we struggled little bit with the bike. At first, we had a problem with rear; the rear wheel was rising up all the time. We managed to fix it but to detriment of the front. I had one crisis moment and I almost crashed but luckily I handled it. Otherwise, it confirms what we feared. This circuit is really demanding on the left should. Today it did not have any essential impact, one or two laps in a row is possible to stand it even I fit hurts. It is going to be tough tomorrow.“

Marco Grana

chief mechanic, Cardion AB Motoracing

"We made a great work considering the fact that the track is really demanding on the Karel’s shoulder. We improved the time as we have planned on Friday and comparing to the last year we got faster of two and half seconds and it is really good. For tomorrow race it is great news that we are able to make same times as on hard tyres as on soft ones. I believe that if Karel starts well tomorrow and if shoulder is find under racing burden we can fight for points. Considering all circumstances it is a good result."

More, from a press release issued by Drive M7 Aspar Team:


DRIVE M7 Aspar rider improves by a second in qualifying, Aoyama also improves to line up in sixteenth

After a wide open start to the new MotoGP World Championship in Qatar in round one, the second round of the season has been all about Marc Márquez after a dominant weekend so far from the Spaniard, who set the pace in each free practice session before claiming pole position by a comfortable margin in qualifying. Pedrosa and Bradl at least managed to close the gap to the World Champion this afternoon, making up an all-Honda front row in tomorrow's Grand Prix of the Americas.

After struggling to break through the 2'06 barrier throughout free practice DRIVE M7 Aspar rider Nicky Hayden found a full second in qualifying mode to set three laps in the 2'05s, the last of which proving to be his best of the weekend and enough to secure fourteenth place on the grid. The American has struggled more than he expected at his home circuit but after making solid progress this afternoon he is hoping to find more pace in tomorrow's warm-up ahead of the race. On the other side of the DRIVE M7 Aspar garage Hiroshi Aoyama continued to work on finding an improved front-end set-up for his machine, the Japanese rider qualifying two places behind his team-mate in sixteenth.

14th Nicky Hayden 2.05.062: “I honestly thought the flowing sections of this track would be easier than they have been today. I struggled through there last year and I thought it would be much more easy on the Honda but that hasn't really been the case and we have also had some electronic issues that have cost us valuable time. It is a shame that our home GP isn't going to plan at the moment but looking on the bright side we improved by a full second in qualifying and we have to keep working hard in the warm-up tomorrow to try and find a bit more. Hopefully we can do that and give the fans here a better show in the race.”

16th Hiroshi Aoyama 2.05.788: “Today we continued to work on the front end of the bike and we have found a pretty positive feeling. I feel more comfortable on the bike and the lap times are getting quicker. The only mistake we made was perhaps going a bit too far with the changes to the set-up because when they didn't work we didn't have time to go back. I'm not worried because we have a solid base to work from tomorrow and we know that will be very useful for the race. Tomorrow is the most important day of the weekend, we just have to stay focused on the job at hand and give it our best.”

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Marquez smashes lap record in qualifying at Circuit of The Americas

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Medium; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)

Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)

Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 22-23°C; Track 27-28°C (Bridgestone measurement)

FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 27-28°C; Track 42-43°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Marc Marquez’s dominance at Circuit of The Americas continued as the Repsol Honda rider set a new Circuit Best Lap record of 2'02.773 in qualifying, beating the record he set last year by a third of a second to take pole position.

Marquez out-qualified his teammate Dani Pedrosa by 0.289 seconds, while LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl completed an all-Honda front row by finishing third quickest with a best lap time a tenth of a second slower than Pedrosa. All riders on the front row used the combination of the medium compound front and rear slicks during their time attack in Qualifying Practice 2.

Conditions today were similar to yesterday, with cool and windy conditions in the morning session followed by warmer temperatures in the afternoon, with a peak track temperature of 43°C recorded during Qualifying Practice 2. The thirty-minute FP4 session was used to assess race tyre options and all three rear slick options brought to this circuit were utilised. For the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders, both the medium and hard compound rear slicks were used to good effect today and should figure on the grid for tomorrow’s race. For the Ducati and Open-class riders, the medium compound rear is the preferred option, although some riders will elect to use the soft compound rear for the race. Front-end stability while cornering and braking is extremely important at Circuit of The Americas and this is evident with the harder, medium compound front slick being the most popular option.

The weather forecast predicts a slight chance of rain for tomorrow’s twenty-one lap Americas Grand Prix which starts at 1400 local time (GMT -5). The riders will have one last chance to confirm their race setup during the twenty minute Warm Up session at 0940.

Masao Azuma- Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Division

“We were able to build on a solid first day here at Circuit of The Americas with good track conditions allowing the riders to evaluate the rear tyre options available to each of them. I expect to see all three rear tyre options being used for tomorrow’s race as they all performed well during race simulations, and the medium compound is likely to be the most popular choice. Marc is very strong at this circuit but overall the race pace among the riders is very close and hopefully we will see another very competitive race like we witnessed in Qatar.”

More, from a press release issued by Scott Redding's publicist:

Strong qualifying performance from Scott in Texas

Austin, Texas – 12 April 2014: Scott Redding put in a strong qualifying performance to ensure his is the first Honda RCV1000R on the grid for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

The 21-year-old Briton qualified 13th today, almost half a second ahead of former world champions and fellow production Honda riders, Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama, who will line up alongside Scott on the fifth row of the grid tomorrow.

Scott will also line up on the grid just one place behind his Gresini Honda teammate, Alvaro Bautista, who has the advantage of racing the Honda RC213V factory class bike.

Scott Redding // 13th // 2’04.617

“I knew that the qualifying lap was one thing I needed to work on, but today we did a really good job: I didn’t expect to make this lap time - I expected something like 2’05”0, but in the end I was feeling good and relaxed, so lap times came easily. I’m happy to be the fastest ‘Production Racer’ Honda again, but now we have to see how the race goes tomorrow, because maybe is going to be more difficult with the hard tyre. Maybe we could also use the softer tyre, but I’m going to try the hard one: if it’s not good, we will learn something. Now it’s the time to do these kind of things, because we are still early in the season.”

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Austin, 12 April: LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl took a sensational third place (2’03.196) at the state-of-the-art Austin circuit today in a very close 15-min qualifying session. His great performance aboard the RC213V (only 0.423s off poleman) put him on front row behind the Repsol duo Marquez and Pedrosa ahead tomorrow’s 21-lap race.

Stefan: “For sure we are very happy today because a front row is always a great result and for me it’s even more special because I like this track. We have done a good job on the bike improving a lot from Friday to Saturday and gaining more feeling with the tyres. Even in the free practices today our pace was pretty good as we lapped constantly in the top-four. The race is going to be tough because the Yamaha guys are very close and Dani and Marc are very fast but I remain concentrated and will do my best to finish this race with a positive result”. 

More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:

An incredible 4th place for Espargaro in Texas

It was a thrilling qualifying session for the NGM Forward Racing rider Aleix Espargaro, who finished as first open and 4th overall. Tomorrow he will take the start of the Texas GP from the second row, behind Marquez, Pedrosa and Bradl.

After having struggled in the free practices, in the Q1 Aleix closed second, entering the Q2, where he gave his maximum and recorded his best lap time of 2’03.240, 0.467 from pole man Mar Marquez.

It was a tough day for Colin Edwards, who struggled a lot on the technical and demanding COTA racetrack. Texas Tornado will start tomorrow from the 7th row (2’.06.741).

Colin Edwards:

“The track is very demanding and this complicates the situation. I’m struggling a lot with the bike and this is not what I wanted for my home GP. We will continue to work and try to change something for the race."

Aleix Espargaro:

“First open and 4th overall is a very good result. We definitely improved in the qualifying, but we don’t have the strong pace that we had in Qatar. The bike is unstable in the hard braking and I struggled a lot. In these conditions the race becomes also very physically demanding. Anyway, we will take the start from a good grid position and I will do my best."

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

The weekend Proceeds in a positive way at Circuit of the Americas, in Texas, for the Pramac Racing Team. Andrea Iannone on his last run of second qualifying practice gained ninth place. Yonny Hernandez manages to keep the fifteenth position.

Andrea Iannone - Pramac Racing - starts off determined and is fast from the first practice session today, improving his yesterday lap time and riding constantly with the fastest riders. The twenty-four year old from Vasto ends the third free practice session with the sixth fastest time gaining so direct access to the second qualifying session. During the last free practice before qualifying session Andrea still manages to improve finishing in second place. During qualifying, "The Man ... c" improves other three-tenths of a second from his best time riding in 2'03"842, which allows him to start from the third row in tomorrow's race.

Yonny Hernandez - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing - closes the day keeping yesterdays fifteenth position. Yonny fulfills his best lap time during the FP3 in the morning, unfortunately fails to improve during the day and because of a little mistake compromises his qualifying session. Finishing of points remains tomorrows goal for the race.

Andrea Iannone ( Pramac Racing)

"I am very satisfied with the work done today even though we didn't improve much, but that's fine. I rode very close to the limit that our bike allows us on this track. Compared to last year we are going two seconds faster, which is definitely a positive thing. Looking at the other riders it makes us thing that we can do better but we have to have patience because our work has just begun. I thank again the team and Ducati who supports me . "

Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)

"I'm sorry for how qualifying went today, as soon as I got out on track I made a mistake. Today's result is better than Qatar one and this is a good thing. I worked hard on the bikes setup, I am satisfied with feeling of bikes. Tomorrow I will do my best to achieve my goal, to finish in the points. I thank the team for the work done to day."

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Marquez on pole for second race of the year

MotoGP™ qualifying at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas saw Marc Marquez clinch pole with a new record lap of Circuit of the Americas (2'02.886), with Dani Pedrosa and Stefan Bradl joining him on the front row.

Marquez is quick wherever he rides but he appears to specifically enjoy the state-of-the-art Austin track where round two of the season is taking place and he secured his 11th premier class pole position by 0.289s from Repsol Honda teammate Pedrosa – having dominated all weekend so far.

A solid effort from LCR Honda MotoGP’s German rider Bradl put him at the back of row one as he got to within 0.423s of the rampant Marquez – making it an all Honda front three.

It will be an all-Yamaha second row for Sunday’s race, with Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) placing his ‘Open’ Forward-Yamaha fourth, 0.467s off pole. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pair Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were fifth and sixth, Lorenzo registering a time just 0.003s off Espargaro’s, with Rossi 0.001s behind his teammate.

Heading the third row is Ducati Team’s Cal Crutchlow (+1.007s), in front of compatriot Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Italian Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing). Smith and Iannone were both also just over a second behind Marquez.

On row four, meanwhile are Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini).

The fastest ‘Open’ Honda rider Scott Redding will start just behind his GO&FUN Honda Gresini teammate Bautista at the head of row five, having missed Q2 by just 0.074s.

Sunday’s MotoGP race takes place at 2pm local time in Texas (GMT -5).

Moto2™: Late dash gives Rabat pole in Texas

Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) grabbed Moto2™ pole in Austin with a late 2’10.135 hot lap, heading the front row from Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert).

Having won at round one in Qatar Rabat will aim to clinch his second victory of the year at a track where he came second last season. He outpaced Zarco by 0.266s for the top spot on his Kalex machine, but Zarco’s Caterham team will also be pleased to be on the front row at just their second Grand Prix.

Aegerter was 0.287s off pole to secure his first ever front row start. Just behind the Swiss rider on the grid is Belgium’s Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) who heads a second row which also features Spanish duo Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team) and Maverick Viñales (Pons HP 40)German Moto2 rookie Jonas Folger (AGR Team) qualified seventh, ahead of Italian Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing) and Japan’s Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) on row three. Another German Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3) rounded out the top ten and therefore heads the fourth line of the Austin grid.

There were crashes for Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) and Axel Pons (AGR Team) but all escaped unharmed, a relief for Cortese after a big accident on Friday and the heavy crash he suffered in Qatar.

The Moto2™ race at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas takes place at 12.20pm local time (GMT -5) in Austin on Sunday.

Moto3™: Miller heads grid at Circuit of the Americas

Saturday’s Moto3™ qualifying session saw Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) take pole with a record 2'16.342 lap, with Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) and Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) joining the Australian on the second row.

Qatar race winner Miller went into provisional pole position with the hot lap mid way through the session and was a second ahead of his rivals until the final stages when Vazquez and Rins closed to within 0.347s and 0.556s respectively and secured their row one starts.

Row two meanwhile comprises Rins’ young teammate and compatriot Alex Marquez, in addition to Italian Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN) and Czech rider Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team). All three qualified just over a second off Miller’s time, with Antonelli escaping unhurt from a crash.

Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold), Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team) all feature on row three, whilst Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) qualified tenth after a big crash at the end of the session. He got up after the incident and looked to be uninjured.

There were also crashes for Eric Granado (Calvo Team), Alessandro Tonucci (CIP Mahindra) and Scott Deroue (RW Racing GP) but all escaped without major damage done.

The second Moto3™ race of 2014 gets started at 11am local time (GMT -5) on Sunday in Texas.

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Crutchlow and Dovizioso qualify for the GP of the Americas at Austin in seventh and tenth place

Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso qualified for the Grand Prix of the Americas, the second round of the MotoGP World Championship which will be held tomorrow at the Austin circuit in Texas, respectively in seventh and tenth place.

After encouraging form shown during the four sessions of free practice, both Ducati Team riders hoped to make further progress in qualifying, but unfortunately neither Crutchlow, who had a low-speed slide at Turn 11, nor Dovizioso, who is still suffering from the effects of flu, were able to improve their times and as a result the British rider and his Italian team-mate will start Sunday’s race respectively from rows 3 and 4.

Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 7th (2m03.780s)

“This weekend our back’s been up against the wall a bit and we’ve had some issues, but the team has worked hard to sort them out. We improved the bike for the qualifying but seventh was all we got. I also came off at turn 11, spinning round in a circle at 28 k per hour for some reason! I’m not going to make excuses because I was pushing for the lap time. Today I had a lot less rear grip, maybe because of the track conditions, but for sure we need to analyze everything tonight to change the bike set-up a bit and make it work better with the harder option race tyre.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 10th (2m03.846s)

“I am a bit disappointed with tenth place on the grid, which for sure will not help me much in tomorrow’s race, especially in the early laps. Today I struggled a lot: physically I’m very weak because I’m taking antibiotics for my flu and my muscles feel pretty bad. It’s not ideal at all to race with a high fever in MotoGP, especially at a track like Austin, because it drains you of all your energy. Tomorrow I’ll try and do a good race: I’d say that with our pace in the early laps we can be quite close to the front, but we’ll have to see if we can keep it up for the rest of the race.”

More, from a press release issued by Tech 3:

 Tech3s Smith prepared for fight to top 5 at Texas

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team’s riders produced another strong-minded display in qualifying today and will begin the Circuit of the Americas Grand Prix with Bradley Smith in 8th and Pol Espargaro in 11th position for the second round of the MotoGP World Championship. Both riders moved straight into the qualifying practice2 as they made further steps forward after a challenging start in yesterday’s opening sessions.

Bradley Smith produced another sterling display at the long and twisting Texan track with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team. Despite the complexity of the Circuit of the Americas, Smith continued his encouraging performance and leapt forward to 5th in FP3, as he was the quickest of all the Yamaha MotoGP riders. During QP2, he knocked off another two hundredth of a second from his FP3 time, but ultimately finished in 8th place, only half of a second behind the Factory Yamaha of Jorge Lorenzo. His fastest time was also a colossal improvement from last year’s best qualifying time, by almost three seconds. The young British rider’s performances so far this year confirm his determination to be the leading satellite bike, as he aims to fight for a top 5 finish in the 21 lap race tomorrow.

Rookie Pol Espargaro completed a successful run to qualify 11th for tomorrow’s Grand Prix, and only just over a second from the leading time in his second race appearance on a MotoGP bike. After overcoming the difficulty of learning the 2013 Bridgestone tyres, which he had previously not competed on, the reigning Moto2 World Champion advanced straight into QP2 with a strong 9th place in FP3, ahead of the Factory Yamaha of Valentino Rossi. Signs of progression were evident, as his best lap of 2:03.913 set in QP2, was his fastest of the weekend by 2.7 seconds compared to yesterday’s opening session, and only a tenth away from 7th place. However confidence is high for the 22 year old to gain a positive result tomorrow and score his inaugural points in the MotoGP World Championship as some of the riders in front of him were running soft tyres today, which will not be sustainable for tomorrow’s race distance.

Bradley Smith - 8th - 2:03.800:

“In general, I am quite satisfied with 8th poshave improved by 1.6 seconds from yesterday, which is positive and also a huge leap compared to the qualifying time from last year. I set a good lap time in FP3 which I was then able to better by two tenths later on in QP2. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the last sector during my fastest lap which cost me around 3 tenths, and I would have been only 0.2 seconds from the Factory Yamaha bikes if this hadn’t occurred, which is an acceptable gap. So now we need to analyse the information, see where we can improve furthermore and make another step during tomorrow’s warm up. Anyway, I am really looking forward to the race where I will focus on getting a good start, and being as aggressive as possible to get into the top five at the first corner. No doubt, it will be a tough GP with plenty of overtaking, so I have to be prepared to pass other riders and keep a good lap time for all 21 laps.

Pol Espargaro - 11th - 2:03.913:

“Overall, I am pretty happy as I went straight into QP2, which shows a big improvement since Qatar. On the other hand I am a little disappointed with 11th, as I was near the top guys, and only one tenth of a second off 7th place. If I had not made some small mistakes on the second run with the new tyre, I know I could have gone faster. The bike felt good, although I did experience some issues with the front end of the bike and also with the wheeling which we tried to fix, and will continue to resolve tomorrow. Also, I needed to relearn the track on a MotoGP bike, which is difficult as I must be smoother. Jorge and Valentino are able to be so quick as they ride in this manner, and this is what I need to improve. I feel positive for the race, as the riders in front of me, rode with a soft tyre today, which gives me an advantage as they can’t use it tomorrow. I need a good start, and it will be a tough battle but I am confident that I can overtake and get a good result.”

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