Marc Marquez starts Austin MotoGP weekend on top in practice

Honda's Marc Marquez led the way in first practice for the third round of the MotoGP season at Austin

Marc Marquez starts Austin MotoGP weekend on top in practice

Unbeaten at the Circuit of the Americas since it joined the MotoGP calendar in 2013, Marquez controlled top spot.

He set the early pace with a 2m05.435s lap, then improved to a 2m04.953s to lead the way into the final minutes, 0.617 seconds ahead of Andrea Iannone.

World champion Jorge Lorenzo closed to within 0.255s of Marquez with three minutes to go, with a time of 2m05.208s, but that was as close as anybody got.

Marquez was on a faster lap as the chequered flag flew, but lost time in the third and fourth sectors after catching Suzuki's Maverick Vinales, who wound up ninth.

Riders sampled new soft and medium Michelin rear tyres, with a stiffer construction but slightly softer compounds following last week's issue with Scott Redding's Pramac Ducati in Argentina.

The tyres went into production in France on Monday, and the softs were flown to Austin in time for the start of practice, with the mediums to follow on Saturday.

Iannone ended up third, leading a group of four Ducatis, followed by Hector Barbera, Andrea Dovizioso and Redding, who was among the riders to endure a 60-hour-plus trip from Termas de Rio Hondo due to a cancelled flight.

Valentino Rossi was seventh, but did try the 'alternative version' of Yamaha's YZR-M1 again for the first time since pre-season testing at Phillip Island in February.

Yonny Hernandez was eighth, ahead of Vinales and Dani Pedrosa, who Hernandez nearly cleaned up when he overshot braking into Turn 13.

Jack Miller was thrown from his Marc VDS Honda during a vicious highside at Turn 18, just after the halfway mark of the session.

He was taken to the medical centre, but an x-ray on his right foot confirmed the Australian did not break anything in the leg in which he fractured the tibia and fibula in January.

PRACTICE ONE TIMES

Pos Rider Team Bike Time Gap Laps
1 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 2m04.953s - 17
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Yamaha 2m05.208s 0.255s 15
3 Andrea Iannone Ducati Ducati 2m05.570s 0.617s 14
4 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati Ducati 2m05.682s 0.729s 15
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 2m06.032s 1.079s 14
6 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati Ducati 2m06.224s 1.271s 16
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 2m06.252s 1.299s 16
8 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati Ducati 2m06.264s 1.311s 13
9 Maverick Vinales Suzuki Suzuki 2m06.367s 1.414s 15
10 Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 2m06.450s 1.497s 16
11 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki Suzuki 2m06.482s 1.529s 13
12 Pol Espargaro Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 2m06.581s 1.628s 16
13 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 2m06.772s 1.819s 15
14 Stefan Bradl Aprilia Aprilia 2m07.135s 2.182s 14
15 Tito Rabat Marc VDS Honda Honda 2m07.189s 2.236s 18
16 Bradley Smith Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 2m07.259s 2.306s 13
17 Eugene Laverty Aspar Ducati Ducati 2m07.261s 2.308s 15
18 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia Aprilia 2m07.449s 2.496s 16
19 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati Ducati 2m07.506s 2.553s 14
20 Michele Pirro Pramac Ducati Ducati 2m07.895s 2.942s 13
21 Jack Miller Marc VDS Honda Honda 2m07.897s 2.944s 7


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