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Marc crashes - Jorge tops times

2013-10-18 11:07

GOING DOWN... Honda rider and current 2013 MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez goes down during Friday free practice for the 2013 Oz MotoGP. Image: AFP

Robert Smith

MotoGP 'rookie' Marc Marquez could win the World title on Sunday but Jorge Lorenzo beat his lap times during both Friday practice sessions.

PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia - Spain's defending MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo topped both practice sessions on Friday (Oct 18) as title challenger Marc Marquez struck trouble ahead of this weekend's racing on Phillip Island.

Yamaha's Lorenzo clocked 1min28.961 for the fastest lap in second practice, 0.294sec faster than compatriot Marquez on a Honda.


But Marquez, who can claim the title in his debut premier-class season if he beats Lorenzo by sufficient points in Sunday's third-last race of the season, took a hard fall from his bike in the afternoon run. The 20-year-old Spanish rookie high-sided his Honda and landed heavily on the new asphalt surface before getting to his feet.

Appearing to have escaped injury, Marquez was back out on the track less than 20 minutes later.

He said later: "It's a pity about the crash right at the start of the afternoon run but we went back out with the second bike, which had a totally different geometry and we had no time in which to change things.

"So, we used the initial set-up for the entire session. We shall see if tomorrow we can regain the feeling that we had in the morning session - I felt very good."

Lorenzo, who clinched the 2012 title at Phillip Island, went within 0.304 of now-retired Australian Casey Stoner's lap record of 1min28.665 set in 2008.

"I feel we are much more competitive here than in Malaysia," Lorenzo said. "There are some problems with the wind in some corners where we cannot keep the front wheel on the ground so we need to improve that for tomorrow.

"The new tarmac is much better, you can push with more confidence and there are fewer bumps."


Stoner retired from MotoGP at the end of the 2012 season after a career in which he won six consecutive Australian MotoGPs around Phillip Island.

Spain's Alvaro Bautista had the third-fastest lap on Friday, 0.477 down on Lorenzo, with Marquez's Spanish team mate Dani Pedrosa fourth at 0.517. Pedeosa said: "Today was very positive, the new asphalt felt good and the tyres worked well.

"The only setback was that we were unable to make the most of all the time available, due to a problem with the bike at the end of the afternoon session."

Seven-times premier class World champion Valentino Rossi was fifth-quickest and trailing Yamaha team mate Lorenzo's best time by 0.576. Italian great Rossi has only been off the podium at Phillip Island on three occasions since he debuted in the World championship in 1996.


He said: "I'm happy about today, especially this afternoon as we were able to improve the settings of the bike a lot. I'm happy about my pace, I'm constant and also quite fast."

Marquez holds a 43-point lead heading into Sunday's Australian showdown and a win, worth 25 points, could land him the title if he outscores Lorenzo by eight points. If that happens Marquez would become the first rookie to clinch the premier championship since American Kenny Roberts in 1978.

LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl, who fractured an ankle at Sepang the previous weekend, was allowed to take part in opening practice but finished almost four seconds off the pace and was later declared unfit.

The German hopes to return in Japan next weekend.

Best results from Friday's two free practice sessions ahead of the 2013 Australian Moto GP on Phillip Island:
1 Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Yamaha) 1min28.961
2 Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) +0.294sec
3 Alvaro Bautista (ESP/Honda) +0.477
4 Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) +0.517
5 Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) +0.576
6 Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Yamaha) +0.706
7 Bradley Smith (GBR/Yamaha) +1.204
8 Randy de Puniet (FRA/Art) +1.254
9 Nicky Hayden (USA/Ducati) +1.648
10 Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati) +1.793
Read more on:    yamaha  |  honda  |  marquez  |  lorenzo  |  pedrosa

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