Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro set the pace in Austin as the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas got underway, the pair consistently strong in the wet and dry.
The MotoGP World Championship’s return to the Circuit of the Americas started on a damp note as heavy rains soaked the Texas tarmac before Free Practice 1 on Friday. Conditions would quickly improve with a dry line starting to emerge towards the end of the session and Free Practice 2 being run without issue as the hot Austin sun quickly dried the water. Even more than the weather, the bumps around the 5.5-kilometer-long track were a major area of contention and focus across the opening day of practice.
Marc Marquez was eager to stake his claim at COTA, topping Free Practice 1 in the wet with a 2’15.872 before going on to dominate the afternoon session. A 2’04.164 saw Marquez edge out the likes of Miller and Quartararo who put in late flying laps but neither was able to show the overall pace Marquez had during the session. Despite his speed on the opening day, Marquez is still looking for further improvements ahead of Sunday’s race.
On the other side of the Repsol Honda Team garage, Pol Espargaro was raring to go as pitlane opened for Free Practice 1. With a fruitful Misano Test in his pocket, Espargaro was excited to see how he and the Honda RC213V would perform in Texas. Both Friday practices for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas showed the potential is there for Espargaro to put together a strong weekend as he took fifth in FP1 and fourth in FP2. Like his Repsol Honda Team teammate, Espargaro continues to look for improvements between the bumps of COTA.
Takaaki Nakagami made it three Hondas inside the top five to end Friday practice as he put his LCR Honda machine in fifth.
Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas Combined Free Practice Classification
The Circuit Of The Americas is the first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the U.S. near Austin, Texas, with a 5.513km track and a capacity for 120,000 fans. Construction of the impressive 1000-acre facility was completed late in 2012, with MotoGP lining up at the track for the first time… read more.
|5.513 kilometres / 3.426 miles
|1.2 kilometres / 0.746 miles
|2018 (track repairs to the surface to smooth down bumps)
9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd Austin, TX 78617 - View in Google Maps
|2m 01.892s (162.8 km/h) Francesco Bagnai (Ducati, 2023)
|2m 03.126s (161.1 km/h) Alex Rins (Honda, 2023)
|41m 14.649s (160.4 km/h) Alex Rins (Honda, 2023)
|2023 Sprint Winner
|Francesco Bagnai (Ducati)
|2023 Race Winner
|Alex Rins (Honda)