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Apr 13, 2014 - 07:52 AM
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Honda Qualifying Grand Prix Of The Americas, Austin, Texas
Posted by: newsla on Apr 13, 2014 - 07:45 AM
Honda Qualifying Grand Prix Of The Americas, Austin, Texas

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) continued his astonished progress at COTA this afternoon, riding the outer limits at the circuit where he scored his historic first MotoGP win last year.


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With the front tyre tucking and the rear tyre spinning around this undulating Texan venue, the 21-year-old Spaniard bettered closest rival, team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V), by almost three tenths of a second. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) was also on fine form, taking third fastest, just 0.134 seconds behind Pedrosa, to make it an all-Honda front row.

Marquez was breathtaking to watch as he hurled his RC213V around the COTA circuit – outside the happening Texan city of Austin – finding time where no one else could. Yesterday he finished the first two free practice sessions 1.005 seconds ahead, despite pain from his recently broken right leg and subsequent difficulty with the multiple changes of direction around this 5.5km/4.2 mile circuit. Working closely with his crew, the youngster is confident he has found a set-up that will give him an advantage in tomorrow’s 21-lap race.

Pedrosa tried as hard as ever and got close to the flying Marquez, but eventually had to settle for second. The former 125 and 250 World Champion improved the settings of his RC213V during the weekend and is confident he can run with his team-mate in the race.

Bradl was very happy with his front-row start, which proves once again that he has the front-running pace. Two weeks ago in Qatar the German led the race until he slid off in the tricky conditions. This time he aims to get a good points haul after coming up with an excellent bike set-up for this challenging circuit.

Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) had a difficult time at COTA today, having to qualify for the main qualifying sessions from QP1. He eventually ended up 12th overall, 1.150 seconds off Marquez’s pole pace.

Two weeks after his storming MotoGP debut in Qatar, Scott Redding (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) once again acquitted himself brilliantly. He was the fastest rider on Honda’s RCV1000R production racer, bettering former MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) by almost half a second to lead the fifth row of the grid. Hayden had hoped for better here, but spent much of his time trying to fix a few electronics issues.

Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) was 16th, just ahead of the similarly mounted Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R).

Qatar Moto2 winner Esteve Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) continued his excellent form with his new team, grabbing pole position in the Honda-powered intermediate series for the second consecutive race. The Spaniard struggled with some technical issues, then was quickly up to pace once his team had got them sorted. He bettered Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham, Caterham Suter) by just over a quarter of a second, with Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert, Suter) completing the front row just two hundredths down on Zarco.

Xavier Simeon (Federal Oils Gresini, Suter) confirmed his speed in fourth, three hundredths ahead of Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team, Kalex). Reigning Moto3 World Champion Maverick Vinales (Pons HP 40, Kalex) was once again impressive in only his second Moto2 outing, completing the second row of the grid, a mere 0.573 seconds off pole.

Another former Moto3 star Jonas Folger (AGR Team, Kalex) was seventh to lead row three ahead of Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing, Forward KLX) and Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia, Kalex), who was ruled out of second place in Qatar after his machine’s air filter was found to be not within Moto2’s strict rules. Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3, Tech 3) completed the top ten.

There was an intense battle for the second Moto3 pole position of the year that finally went in favour of Qatar winner Jack Miller (KTM). Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda) was Honda’s top performer and a close second quickest, just three tenths of a second down on Miller. Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda) was happy with his third place, which gave him the final spot on the front row,

Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda) was fourth fastest, four tenths of a second down on his team-mate. Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda) was happy with seventh of the grid, putting him at the front of the third row. After a difficult day yesterday his crew gave him a much-improved machine for today’s sessions, putting him just 0.028 seconds off row two. The Frenchman was full of praise for the work done by Honda over the winter.

Honda MotoGP rider quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: pole position, 2m 02.773s
“I’m very happy with how the weekend is going and with the qualifying session – especially taking pole position. I have a good feeling with the bike and have been setting a good pace ahead of tomorrow’s race. We will try to get a good start and I’m sure we’ll be fighting with Dani, as he is our strongest rival. I think that the beginning of the race will be the most important part, because with this heat the tyres suffer a lot. I will try to remain focused and have a good race!”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd, 2m 03.062s
“We improved the bike a lot today and I was able to ride much better than yesterday. I managed to come very close in qualifying and hope to take advantage of all my chances to win tomorrow’s race. Last year we came second so I will look to take one step further tomorrow!”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 3rd, 2m 03.196s
“We made some big improvements following yesterday sessions, we improved the feeling with the bike and that makes me happy. I did a good lap and the think that pleases me is that I did it all alone, without following anyone. I had a good race pace in FP4, so we will see how it all turns out in the race. The Hondas are strong here, but I have four Yamahas right behind me, so one little mistake… After my crash in Qatar I need to score some points, but also I don’t want to finish eighth or ninth!”

Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 12th, 2m 03.923s
“Today, like yesterday, we had another difficult day: we worked a lot looking for a set-up that could give me a better feeling with the bike together with some more rear grip, but despite various attempts we have obtained nothing positive, and I continue to have the same feelings of yesterday. Tomorrow morning during the warm up we will try the hard tyre: it’s strange, but as soon as I tried it for the first time during QP1, I was immediately fast, so we want to understand whether it can be a good option for the race. If my feeling will improve, we can be more competitive, but we start from a bad position so it will be important to make a good start. I’m still confident, the race is always a story in itself, and of course we will give the maximum to take as many points as possible.”

Scott Redding, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 13th, 2m 04.617s
“I knew that the qualifying lap was one thing I needed to work on, but today we did a really good job: I didn’t expect to make this lap time – I expected something like 2m 05.0s, but in the end I was feeling good and relaxed, so lap times came easily. I’m happy to be the fastest ‘production racer’ Honda again, but now we have to see how the race goes tomorrow, because maybe is going to be more difficult with the hard tyre. Maybe we could also use the softer tyre, but I’m going to try the hard one: if it’s not good, we will learn something. Now it’s the time to do these kind of things, because we are still early in the season.”

Nicky Hayden, Drive 7 Aspar Honda: 14th, 2m 05.062s
“I honestly thought the flowing sections of this track would be easier than they have been today. I struggled through there last year and I thought it would be much more easy on the Honda but that hasn’t really been the case and we have also had some electronic issues that have cost us valuable time. It is a shame that our home GP isn’t going to plan at the moment but looking on the bright side we improved by a full second in qualifying and we have to keep working hard in the warm-up tomorrow to try and find a bit more. Hopefully we can do that and give the fans here a better show in the race.”

Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R: 16th, 2m 05.788s
“Today we continued to work on the front end of the bike and we have found a pretty positive feeling. I feel more comfortable on the bike and the lap times are getting quicker. The only mistake we made was perhaps going a bit too far with the changes to the set-up because when they didn’t work we didn’t have time to go back. I’m not worried because we have a solid base to work from tomorrow and we know that will be very useful for the race. Tomorrow is the most important day of the weekend, we just have to stay focused on the job at hand and give it our best.”

Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing: 17th, 2m 06.239s
“At the end we managed to find quite good setting, however in the morning we struggled little bit with the bike. At first, we had a problem with rear; the rear wheel was rising up all the time. We managed to fix it but to detriment of the front. I had one crisis moment and I almost crashed but luckily I handled it. Otherwise, it confirms what we feared. This circuit is really demanding on my [injured] left shoulder. The race is going to be tough.”

Moto2 rider quotes

Esteve Rabat, Marc VDS Racing Team: pole position – 2m 10.135s
“We have had a little problem with the clutch which got worse and worse through the weekend but finally in qualifying my team found a solution, so my thanks to them. Now we will work to find the best way in warm-up and prepare for the race as well as we can.”

Johann Zarco, AirAsia Caterham: 2nd – 2m 10.401s
“We were so close to getting pole position, so I was almost a little disappointed when I saw that Tito [Rabat] had beaten us by just three tenths of a second. Overall I am happy because we have done a great job so far this weekend and our plan is to maintain this pace for tomorrow. Tito is the best rider in Moto2 at the moment and I can ride with him throughout the race, then we will have a great race day.”

Dominique Aegerter, Technomag carXpert: 3rd – 2m 422s
“This is my first-ever front row, so of course I am very happy – tomorrow I won’t have to overtake so many riders at the start, which will be a change! In Qatar maybe we have got a front row if we hadn’t been unlucky and blown an engine. Anyway, the plan for the race is to stay with the front group and get as many points as I can.”

Honda Moto3 rider quotes

Efren Vazquez, SaxoPrint-RTG: 2nd – 2m 16.689s
“We started very well yesterday, giving us a good foundation from which to give a good lap time today. This is a very challenging circuit, so the start will be very important and I am really looking forward to the race.”

Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 3rd – 2m 16.898s
“I’m happy with the bike and with the result. We struggled to find a comfortable setting in this circuit, but we already have a good pace and I think the only thing we lacked today is making a good lap. Today I was always alone on the track and we couldn’t lower our times any more. For tomorrow’s race, we know that Miller is one step ahead, so we will try not to let him get away also, if Efren [Vazquez] is in our group, we know that he can make things difficult.”

Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 4th – 2m 16.898s
“This morning we made a step forward, but we still have room for improvement and we will continue this way in the warm-up, which we hope will be dry. I think that the race is going to be a hard fight and could be among a large group, because you can gain a lot at this track using the slipstream. So tomorrow we will try to be with the front and then see what happens toward the end, when the tyres are more worn.”

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