MotoGP: Martin Close To Lap Record In FP2 At COTA (Updated)

MotoGP: Martin Close To Lap Record In FP2 At COTA (Updated)

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

Jorge Martin, riding his Prima Pramac Racing Ducati Desmosedici, was just 0.14 second short of his own lap during MotoGP Free Practice Two Friday afternoon at Circuit of The Americas, in Austin, Texas. Martin did a 2:02.178, and the current All-Time Lap Record is 2:02.039.

 

MotoGP FP2

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Martin sets a stunner as Bezzecchi fails to make the cut

The top ten heading for Q2 is decided and it’s Martin ahead of Bagnaia and Rins on Day 1 – with Bezzecchi out and both KTMs in

 

 

Jorge Martin (89). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jorge Martin (89). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Saturday, 15 April 2023

‘It was blink-and-you-miss-it stuff to end the first day of action at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas as the fastest riders on the planet attacked the track to secure Q2 spots and with it their chance to fight for pole position. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) drew first blood and came incredibly close to lap record pace to take top honours, pipping reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) to the top, with former COTA winner Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) excelling in the Americas once again to take an impressive 3rd.

One big headline from the day saw Championship leader Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) miss the cut, ending the day in P11 by just hundredths.

THE FIGHT FOR Q2

After P1 saw Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) beat Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) to the top, it looked like rain could derail the best laid plans for the premier class in the afternoon. But not so, as track conditions were back up to prime by the time the field headed out, and with that the times began to tumble.

The battle for Q2 honours was well and truly underway as the riders attacked with the clock ticking in Practice 2. Ten minutes to go and red sectors were flooding the timing screens, with the pace getting hotter and hotter. Marini and Bagnaia were leading the way in that order until the reigning champion took charge and placed his factory Ducati at the top of the pile, but the final runs were still to come.

Silence fell on the circuit as the riders returned to the pitlane in the calm before the storm. Minutes later a whole gaggle of riders went out on circuit for the final bite at the cherry, but 2022 Championship rivals Bagnaia and Quartararo let the group take to the circuit and waited behind for clear space…

 

Francesco Bagnaia (1). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Francesco Bagnaia (1). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Martin, however, had other plans and moved the goalposts by almost half a second, leaving the rest to battle for the scraps. Bagnaia put in a hot lap soon after though and managed to close back in, but it wasn’t quite enough as he finishes the day 0.063s off. Rins also took up the challenge with a truly impressive third overall, getting to within 0.154 of the top to push Marini down to fourth.

For some, the final very lap was a no-go as Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) went down and brought out the yellow flags, also forcing the Repsol Honda Joan Mir to take evasive action, riders ok. There had been another moment of adrenaline earlier in the session for Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) too, who saved a massive moment that nearly saw the Spaniard fly over the handlebars. It was a good recovery, however, as he finishes Day 1 in fifth.

 

Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Sixth goes to Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) as Top Gun ends Day 1 as top Aprilia, with Quartararo getting shuffled a little further down the order in the afternoon to finish up in P7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), and Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) took the final Q2 spots in 8th, 9th, and 10th respectively, making it both KTMs in the top ten for the first time since Motegi last year.

There is a very notable name missing there though: the Championship leader. Bezzecchi missed the cut by just 0.037s, and from 11th spot, the Argentina GP winner will have to fight his way through Q1 for a chance at pole. The Italian will have to fend off Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda CASTROL), Zarco, Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), and Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team), who will all have to face Saturday’s Q1 session.

GAME ON!

Friday delivered a perfect appetizer in Austin, and with qualifying and the Tissot Sprint awaiting on Saturday, you don’t want to miss a thing. Find out who will take the glory with Q1 at 10:50 (GMT -5) after FP, and the Sprint then underway at 15:00!

 

Pedro Acosta (37). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Pedro Acosta (37). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Acosta back on top in Austin

Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) began his Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in fine fashion as the Spaniard set the time to beat in the final moments of the day with a 2:09.856. Despite a valiant effort, Championship leader Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) fell just short, finishing the day in 2nd, with Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40) completing the top three.

The track remained dry all day for Moto2™ Practice 1, but Practice 2 gave the riders much more to think about with spits of rain in the opening stages. The conditions began to improve as the session went on but with twenty minutes remaining the rain began to pick up once again, before a reprieve finally came in the final few minutes. The hot laps then came flying back in, and Acosta improved his time dramatically. The Portuguese GP victor put in the only 2:09 of the day and snatched the top spot, from Arbolino and Canet.

Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) also lit up the timesheets at the end of Practice 2, with the American kicking off his home GP with 4th place on Day 1, and Jake Dixon (Asterius GASGAS Aspar) was fifth overall by the end of play after the Brit also dominated P1.

Check out the full timesheets below! Moto2™ will be back in action on Saturday for more practice, before qualifying at 13:45 local (GMT -5).

 

Ayumu Sasaki (71). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Ayumu Sasaki (71). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Sasaki sends a message with more scintillating pace on Friday

Day 1 at COTA goes to Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) as the Japanese rider kicked off his weekend at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas with a 2:16.306. Completing the top three on combined times were fellow veteran Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) and sophomore Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team).

The dark clouds loomed over Austin Texas but the Moto3™ riders were lucky to have a full day of dry running. The final five minutes of P2 saw Sasaki put the hammer down. Ortola was the first to improve but the Japanese rider had something special in his back pocket and stamped his authority on the rest of the field, moving the goalposts by almost half a second. Masia then put in an impressive effort to try and topple Sasaki, setting the fastest first sector but ultimately falling short by 0.176s.

Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) topped Practice 1 and will be one watch heading into the race as he finishes the day in P4. Equally, Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) have had positive starts to their weekend finishing the day in 5th and 7th respectively. Kaito Toba (SIC58 Squadra Corse) slots into sixth.

Moto3™ action continues on Saturday, with more practice in the morning before qualifying at 12:50 local time (GMT -5)! Check out the full timesheets below.

Quotes: new Dorna CCO Dan Rossomondo 

 

Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta (left) and new Dorna Sports Chief Commercial Officer Dan Rossomondo (right). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta (left) and new Dorna Sports Chief Commercial Officer Dan Rossomondo (right). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

A special press conference at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas saw Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta welcome Dan Rossomondo to his new role as Chief Commercial Officer.

Here are some key quotes!

Dan Rossomondo, CCO of Dorna Sports: “I want to thank Carmelo, Carlos and Enrique for giving me this opportunity. I don’t have the vocabulary to keep finding synonyms for excited, but I keep saying that. I’m over the moon! I also want to thank all my Dorna teammates, who’ve made me feel so welcome. But as soon as I stepped off the plane they’ve made me feel so welcome and I know we’re going to do great things together. I spent close to 17 years with the NBA so it’s quite a step from basketball to motorbikes, but I’m super excited.

“I think this sport, and this is the key thing for me, is primed to have its moment. It’s poised for us to talk about the greatness of it. I’d done a ton of research when me and Carmelo talked, and with Carlos and Enrique, and I knew what the sport was about, but over the last two days there have been a lot of ‘oh my goodness’ moments! My mind has been blown. What I see as my primary role is how to become the mouthpiece for this sport in the global business community. How do I evangelise for this sport across the world and get people to understand just how great it is. I look at our riders, and these guys are exceptional athletes. The skill it takes to do this, it’s hard for me to imagine. We need to tell the world about their exceptional nature. And thank you to our manufacturers and teams, this sport has so many attributes that people want to understand. The technology that makes the bikes more efficient, to make them go round the track at this incredible pace, and make them safer. It’s really something we should be proud of. The way we innovate, the shoulder cams, how we bring the sport to over 215 countries and territories around the world. That’s really important. I traveled a lot for the NBA, and used to joke it was easier to fly to London than commute to New York! I was all over the world and whenever I couldn’t sleep from jet lag, I’d turn on the TV and there would be these riders going round these tracks. I was so envious of the global nature of the sport. They brought the sport to the fans, in 18 different countries, showing the fans what it is. That’s what makes this show spectacular.

“What I wanted for the next step in my career is to take what I learned in the NBA, which is an unbelievable training ground… this sport is fantastic, it’s in a great place, but how do we promote it? To our partners, sponsors, broadcast partners, licensees… we’re going to build a commercial team that is going to be your best long-term partner. What appealed is the global nature of the sport, and so many sports should be envious of our show. It’s a spectacle. For this generation, it’s fast, and the Sprint is 20 minutes, the Grand Prix race is 40. It’s built perfectly for today’s day and age. What I was looking for was to take my minuscule talents to a huge platform and see if they can work together.

“I want to a learn, I know I can learn a lot from the Dorna team, every time I talk to Carmelo or Carlos I learn something new. My first plan is to study! I was a decent student so I’ll figure that out. we’re going to set lofty goals on the commercial side. and lofty goals for increasing our fandoms across the world. And I want to learn my team, get myself to Madrid and then I’m gonna just dive in.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports: “It’s a lot of pressure for me to introduce Dan! All the paddock, with the FIM and everyone, we’ve been building a fantastic sport for many years. I think we have one of the greatest shows in the world, and we’ve been working together since 1992 to do everything better, that’s been our aspiration. Last year, Manel Arroyo, who was working with me form the beginning, decided to step away, although he will continue advising me. It was the moment to nominate a new Chief commercial officer, and we decided it was the moment to make MotoGP even better, and an even more global sport. To do that we organised a search and we received around 25 very important people from sport were interested in joining Dorna, and in being part of this sport. We thought it was important to take the recruitment seriously, and spend three months deciding who it should be. Now it’s my pleasure to introduce Dan Rossomondo, who comes from the NBA. Nothing is more global than the NBA, and I think his experience and what he’s been doing, will be a big help for us to continue growing. It’s a real pleasure for me to introduce him.”

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