MotoGP title hopeful Marc Marquez continued his strong start to this weekend’s Valencia showdown by going quickest in second practice.
Momentum swung several times between the rookie, his Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, and his championship rival Jorge Lorenzo. Once again it was the Yamaha man who started the session fastest, only to be denied as Honda’s works duo dominated the second half.
Marquez kicked off the charge with 20 minutes remaining, was demoted by Pedrosa, and then reclaimed top spot five minutes from the finish with a 1m31.220s.
That left the 20-year-old, who needs to finish fourth or higher to guarantee himself this year’s crown, just over six hundredths of a second clear of Pedrosa. More importantly for his championship ambitions, it also put him 0.158sec ahead of Lorenzo.
The latter’s Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi had been on the front-running pace in the early stages, but couldn’t match the improvements of the top three and finished the session four tenths of a second down the road. That allowed Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow to steal ahead in the final minutes to secure fourth for Yamaha’s satellite squad. The Briton then fell on his final lap, although he was instantly on his feet after losing the rear of his bike at Turn 11, the slowest corner of the circuit.
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl beat fellow Honda satellite rider Alvaro Bautista to sixth, just 0.015sec to choose between the pair at the flag – with Bradley Smith, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden rounding out the top 10.
Aleix Espargaro finished top of the CRT pile in 13th, but like Crutchlow suffered a fall – his coming five minutes from the end at Turn 12.
Pos Rider Bike Time Gap Laps 1. Marc Marquez Honda 1m31.220s 20 2. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m31.286s +0.066s 22 3. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m31.378s +0.158s 19 4. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m31.502s +0.282s 22 5. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m31.639s +0.419s 24 6. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m31.858s +0.638s 22 7. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m31.873s +0.653s 22 8. Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 1m31.984s +0.764s 23 9. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m32.363s +1.143s 2110. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m32.395s +1.175s 2111. Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati 1m32.596s +1.376s 2212. Michele Pirro Pramac Ducati 1m32.756s +1.536s 2013. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m32.809s +1.589s 1114. Claudio Corti Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m33.172s +1.952s 1915. Colin Edwards Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m33.252s +2.032s 2216. Hector Barbera Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m33.270s +2.050s 2017. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m33.304s +2.084s 2118. Yonny Hernandez Pramac Ducati 1m33.487s +2.267s 2119. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m33.727s +2.507s 2020. Luca Scassa Cardion Aprilia 1m34.049s +2.829s 1921. Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m34.077s +2.857s 1422. Michael Laverty PBM Aprilia 1m34.132s +2.912s 2123. Bryan Staring Gresini FTR-Honda 1m35.478s +4.258s 2124. Damian Cudlin PBM-Aprilia 1m35.644s +4.424s 1625. Martin Bauer Remus-Suter-BMW 1m35.832s +4.612s 1926. Lukas Pesek Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m36.353s +5.133s 15