After more than two years, MotoGP is back on American soil this weekend. However, the runners were not greeted warmly on Friday morning. It had rained a lot in the hours leading up to the first free practice, which could happen for the rest of the weekend as well. This meant that the track was still wet at the start of the first free practice session, but most importantly, it had stopped raining.
Conditions were initially perfect for Marc Marquez, which has long led the Honda in the first free practice. The Spaniard was at another level in the first half of the session. As the track continued to dry up, Jack miller more and more forward. The conditions gradually improved and the sun even appeared, but at the end of the session the drivers continued to ride with Michelin rain tires. However, it has become clear that the asphalt has not improved on COTA in recent years. The bumps in the different areas were clearly visible.
With five minutes remaining, it was the return of Marquez, who set Miller’s fastest time. The 2.15.872 was sufficient for the first place in the first free practice. Miller was even faster soon after, but didn’t improve. The first three were completed by Johann zarco, who got back on the MotoGP machine a week and a half after his arm pump operation. He was more than six tenths slower than Marquez.
After a fit crisis that lasted for weeks, the sun shone again in the stand of Miguel Oliveira. He set the fourth fastest time in the first free practice and was just a little faster than Pol Espargaro. The fact that the Honda was strong on the wet American track also showed Alex Marquez appear. He finished sixth, placing three Hondas in the top six. Alex Reins, last COTA winner, finished seventh ahead of Pecco Bagnaia and Brad Binder. Iker Lecuona completed the top ten.
Luca Marini finished in eleventh place for Joan mir, which will appear on the track with a modified start number this weekend. Mir rides with the starting number 36, but in the classic route of former world champion Kevin Schwantz. He was twelfth in the first practice. Danilo Petrucci finished thirteenth for Aleix Espargaro, the only Aprilia rider this weekend.
Fabio Quartararo was fifteenth, more than two seconds behind Marquez. It was an important session for Quartararo in terms of conditions, the Yamaha still does not ride well on a wet and dry track. Things didn’t look much better on Friday. Takaaki Nakagami finished sixteenth and recorded the only crash of the session, he was unharmed. Franco Morbidelli was seventeenth for Enea Bastianini to Jorge martin, two riders who had not yet driven the MotoGP machine at COTA.
Results of the first free practice of the MotoGP United States Grand Prix
Results to follow.
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