MotoGP Indianapolis: Marquez quickest after frantic afternoon session

Threat of rain tomorrow forces MotoGP field to treat afternoon FP2 session as a pseudo-FP3 pre-qualifying session

motogp indianapolis friday practice marc marquez
2014/08/08 - mgp - Round10 - Indianapolis - MotoGP - Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda - RC213V - ActionAndrew Northcott

With the threat of possible thundershowers tomorrow during the morning FP3 session that determines the grouping for the QP2 qualifying session for the quickest 10 riders, this afternoon's FP2 practice for the MotoGP field at Indianapolis Motor Speedway became a sort of de facto FP3 session as riders threw on softer tires to set a quick time and get themselves higher on the leaderboard. Although he struggled a bit to throw off the cobwebs from the summer break in the morning and finished fifth quickest in morning session, Marc Marquez quickly got himself together by the afternoon and threw down a laptime with a few minutes left in the session to vault up to the top of the timesheets as the only rider into the 1:32s on the newly resurfaced/reconfigured Indy MotoGP circuit. Slotting in behind Marquez was newly signed factory Ducati rider (but currently on the satellite Pramac Ducati) Andrea Iannone just 0.222 seconds back, with Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo in third another 0.320 seconds behind. From there the field was very tightly bunched together, with factory Marlboro Ducati rider Andrea Dovisioso showed that the bike is making progress by coming in fourth just 0.008 seconds behind Lorenzo. Just 0.061 seconds behind Dovisioso was Marquez's Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, while LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl followed just 0.020 seconds back. Just half a second covered third through 13th positions.

The newly resurfaced road course section of the Indianapolis MotoGP circuit was met with favorable opinions from the MotoGP riders, as most felt that both smoothness and consistency were dramatically improved (last year, there were multiple changes in tarmac as the circuit transitioned to various sections). "I think the new tarmac is an improvement, but the grip is more or less similar," said Marquez. "It’s less bumpy and that’s better for the riders. This afternoon was slightly better, the grip improves every time we go out, and that means we need to adapt the setup for those conditions." Valentino Rossi was even more appreciative, even though he was down in 9th spot on the timesheets. "The new layout is good, I like it, it’s better than the old. And especially the asphalt, the quality of the surface is a lot better. It’s more easy to ride the bike, it have better grip, so it’s good."

The IMS also made some changes to three sections of the circuit, in turns 3 and 4, 7 and 8, and the last turn 15-16 chicane combination. The outside of the track was widened in the first two turn combinations that allowed wider lines, but the last two turns now take a different trajectory that dramatically reduces the turn angles and puts them on the front straight with more speed (Marquez was clocked at more than 213 mph in the afternoon practice). Marquez wasn't that enamored with the track changes.

"The new layout, I think for Honda was better the other one," he joked. "Now it’s a little bit more kind of like a normal circuit. Now Yamaha will be a little bit closer to us because it’s little bit kind of Yamaha corners. Maybe the last part is where I feel a bigger change. T2 and T3, 4, it’s more or less similar, I don’t feel a big difference there." On counterpoint was Lorenzo, who definitely liked the fact that the corners were made faster for less dependence on outright acceleration. "These three corners in the past were probably a little bit too slow. And now for our bike we don’t have to reduce to first gear it’s a little bit better, you have to roll more the speed, we don’t do so much from zero acceleration which is the strong point of the Honda. So yeah, I like. Also they improve the bumps, last year there were a lot of bumps and now it’s quite flat. And also the grip of the track is quite constant on all parts of the track."

MotoGP Indianapolis Friday practice results:

Pos. Rider Country Team Machine Time
1 Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:32.882
2 Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 1:33.104
3 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:33.424
4 Andrea Dovisioso ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1:33.432
5 Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:33.493
6 Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 1:33.513
7 Yonny Hernandez COL Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 1:33.531
8 Aleix Espargaro SPA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 1:33.587
9 Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:33.598
10 Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1:33.621
11 Pol Espargaro SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1:33.690
12 Scott Redding GBR GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 1:33.971
13 Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team Ducati 1:33.996
14 Alvaro Bautista SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 1:34.054
15 Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Honda 1:34.912
16 Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 1:34.994
17 Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar Honda 1:35.106
18 Hector Barbera SPA Avintia Racing FTR/Kawasaki 1:35.231
19 Michael Laverty IRL Paul Bird Motorsport ART/Aprilia 1:35.472
20 Danilo Petrucci ITA Octo Ioda Racing Ioda/Aprilia 1:35.721
21 Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing FTR/Kawasaki 1:35.749
22 Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport ART/Aprilia 1:35.941
23 Leon Camier GBR Drive M7 Aspar Honda 1:36.394