Marquez edges Lorenzo in first practice

Marquez edges Lorenzo in first practice

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Marquez edges Lorenzo in first practice

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Marc Marquez edged out Jorge Lorenzo to set the pace in the first practice session of this weekend’s MotoGP 2013 title decider at Valencia.

The two championship contenders were separated by just 18 hundredths of a second at the flag.

Marquez’s Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa completed an incredibly tight top three, finishing just six thousandths of a second down the road from Lorenzo.

Marquez can guarantee himself only the second rookie crown in premier class history by finishing fourth or higher on Sunday.

He therefore got his weekend off to the perfect start, running inside the top four for virtually the entire session before hitting the front with a 1m31.557s just one minute before the chequered flag flew.

That was just enough to shade Lorenzo, who had set the pace for much of the session and looked to have sealed top spot with a 1m31.575s set 15 minutes from the end.

Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith surged to fourth in the closing minutes, jumping ahead of factory stable-mate Valentino Rossi, who had enjoyed a spell at the top of the timesheets in the opening quarter of the session.

Alvaro Bautista got the better of Cal Crutchlow in the fight for sixth, with Stefan Bradl beating Ducati duo Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso to eighth. All five riders got within one second of Marquez’s benchmark.

Hayden, whose 2006 showdown with Rossi is the only other occasion MotoGP’s title has gone down to the wire in the last two decades, is making his final appearance for the factory Ducati squad this weekend.

Pos Rider               Bike                       Time       Gap      Laps 1. Marc Marquez        Honda                      1m31.557s            21 2. Jorge Lorenzo       Yamaha                     1m31.575s  +0.018s   19 3. Dani Pedrosa        Honda                      1m31.581s  +0.024s   18 4. Bradley Smith       Tech 3 Yamaha              1m32.086s  +0.529s   22 5. Valentino Rossi     Yamaha                     1m32.237s  +0.680s   23 6. Alvaro Bautista     Gresini Honda              1m32.382s  +0.825s   20 7. Cal Crutchlow       Tech 3 Yamaha              1m32.434s  +0.877s   21 8. Stefan Bradl        LCR Honda                  1m32.501s  +0.944s   21 9. Nicky Hayden        Ducati                     1m32.520s  +0.963s   2110. Andrea Dovizioso    Ducati                     1m32.538s  +0.981s   1911. Aleix Espargaro     Aspar Aprilia              1m32.858s  +1.301s   1512. Andrea Iannone      Pramac Ducati              1m33.372s  +1.815s   2113. Randy de Puniet     Aspar Aprilia              1m33.570s  +2.013s   1914. Michele Pirro       Pramac Ducati              1m33.665s  +2.108s   1915. Yonny Hernandez     Pramac Ducati              1m33.712s  +2.155s   1816. Claudio Corti       Forward FTR-Kawasaki       1m33.801s  +2.244s   1917. Hector Barbera      Avintia FTR-Kawasaki       1m33.880s  +2.323s   1918. Danilo Petrucci     Ioda-Suter-BMW             1m34.025s  +2.468s   2419. Hiroshi Aoyama      Avintia FTR-Kawasaki       1m34.425s  +2.868s   2120. Michael Laverty     PBM Aprilia                1m34.444s  +2.887s   2021. Colin Edwards       Forward FTR-Kawasaki       1m34.872s  +3.315s   1222. Luca Scassa         Cardion Aprilia            1m35.043s  +3.486s   1823. Bryan Staring       Gresini FTR-Honda          1m35.530s  +3.973s   2124. Damian Cudlin       PBM-Aprilia                1m35.953s  +4.396s   1825. Lukas Pesek         Ioda-Suter-BMW             1m36.452s  +4.895s   1526. Martin Bauer        Remus-Suter-BMW            1m37.177s  +5.620s   17

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