MotoGP Silverstone Friday practice: Marquez on top

Marc Marquez once again the class of the field, more than half a second clear of Stefan Bradl and Andrea Dovisioso; Jorge Lorenzo 11th, Valentino Rossi 13th

motogp silverstone friday practice marc marquez
2014/08/29 - mgp - Round12 - Silverstone - MotoGP - Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda - RC213V - ActionAndrew Northcott

After having his MotoGP win streak broken two weeks ago at Brno, Marc Marquez was anxious to put that loss behind him and get back to business, that business being dominating the practice sessions from the off. He dominated both practice sessions at the Silverstone circuit in the UK on a cold and blustery day, with his time in the second session initially nearly a second quicker than the next rider before LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl was able to chip away at the gap to drop it down to just over a half a second. Ducati's Andrea Dovisioso and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Bradley Smith formed a close-knit pair a few tenths behind Bradl.

The wind, cold temperatures, and the bumpiness of the circuit played havoc with many of the riders, with inconsistent grip causing headaches for quite a few, including Marquez's Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa (9th spot) and the Movistar Yamaha team of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi (mired down in 11th and 13th, respectively). In fact, considering the dicey weather predictions for Saturday, if the conditions are poor for the morning FP3 session, Lorenzo and Rossi may have to run in the Q1 qualifying session in order to qualify for the final Q2 qualifying session for the first three rows.

"Today I felt good from the beginning, the pace, everything with the bike was great," said a happy Marquez. "OK, this is circuit is a little bit special because it’s really cold; the temperature is quite low so you need to be careful to warm up the tires. It’s so bumpy and that makes it difficult to find the best setup. It looks like we have a good pace, but it’s only Friday, I think tomorrow everything will be closer. We need to continue to improve in areas where we can make small steps. Over the bumps I’d like the bike to be more stable and consistent. But anyway at that pace I know that I feel good, but you always want to improve and go faster."

Bradl was happy with his spot on Friday, but knows that race pace is another story. "This morning we kept some tires for the whole weekend, and this afternoon I was able to make some good lap times. I’m happy, but for sure we have to improve, the feeling with the used tires is not perfect at the moment. We have to work to find some more traction. So it’s still a lot of work to do, but at the moment I’m quite happy with the first day."

Meanwhile, Lorenzo pulled no punches on his opinion of why he and Rossi are languishing outside the top ten. "The problem is just one: Bridgestone brought the same tires as the first races. So we’ve got the same problems as the first races; no grip for stopping the bike, no grip especially in the middle of the corner, and no traction (on the straight), it’s spinning. And also the negative point is that it creates problems on the front; because there’s no grip at the rear, the front doesn’t absorb the bumps in the middle of the corner so you have to lean a little bit less, you lose roll speed. So nothing is good, neither the corner speed, the braking, or the acceleration. All the Yamaha riders are more or less the same with these problems. It seems with this tire and bike we have now, it’s very difficult for us. The Honda seems to suit this tire better. I don’t know why Bridgestone brought this type of tire again, it seems the previous tire worked better for everyone."

Rossi stated some similar problems with grip and bumps, but wasn't as quick to blame Bridgestone. "We tried the hard (rear) to try and understand...the plan was to use the soft at the end, but unfortunately we did some modifications from this morning because I don’t like the setting, the feeling with the bike. But we did worse; we had a lot more problems especially entering the corner, I don’t have enough front grip, the bike doesn’t cope with the bumps and I lose a lot of corner speed. This is the main problem, more than the rear tire. We tried to modify the plan during the practice but we always not enough time and unfortunately at the end I was behind. We try to work for the race, for sure the soft for three or four laps it’s better, but for the race I think it’s difficult to make the whole race with the soft. So we need to work to make the bike better with the medium."

MotoGP Silverstone Friday practice results:

Pos. Rider Country Team Machine Time
1 Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 2:02.126
2 Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 2:02.635
3 Andrea Dovisioso ITA Ducati Team Ducati 2:03.011
4 Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 2:03.070
5 Yonny Hernandez COL Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 2:03.327
6 Scott Redding GBR GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 2:03.333
7 Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 2:03.353
8 Alvaro Bautista SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 2:03.391
9 Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 2:03.410
10 Aleix Espargaro SPA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 2:03.468
11 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 2:03.500
12 Pol Espargaro SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 2:03.542
13 Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 2:03.952
14 Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team Ducati 2:04.057
15 Alex De Angelis ITA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 2:04.411
16 Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar Honda 2:04.762
17 Leon Camier GBR Drive M7 Aspar Honda 2:04.928
18 Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Honda 2:05.002
19 Danilo Petrucci ITA Octo Ioda Racing Ioda/Aprilia 2:05.827
20 Michael Laverty IRL Paul Bird Motorsport ART/Aprilia 2:06.335
21 Hector Barbera SPA Avintia Racing FTR/Kawasaki 2:06.369
22 Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport ART/Aprilia 2:07.855
23 Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing FTR/Kawasaki 2:08.397