Marc Marquez put together a steady Friday in Austin as he returned to competition, ending the day sixth overall as illness holds back resilient Pol Espargaro.
Some six months after their last visit, the MotoGP World Championship grid was back in action around the 5.5-kilometre-long Circuit of the Americas as round four of the season got underway. Weather conditions remained consistent over the day’s running as the ambient temperature hovered around the mid 20s and the track say in the high 40s.
The Americas GP marked the return of Marc Marquez to MotoGP competition after his Warm Up fall in Indonesia. Taking a steady and considered approach to Friday, the eight-time World Champion increased his speed with each lap around one of his favourite tracks on the 2022 MotoGP World Championship calendar. Ending the morning in fifth, Marquez was able to fully understand his physical condition upon returning to the 1000cc Repsol Honda Team RC213V.
Focusing on rebuilding his confidence and feeling with the bike, Marquez and his side of the Repsol Honda Team are pleased with what they accomplished. Ultimatley a best time of 2’03.041 saw him take sixth overall. Saturday will see Marquez work for the GP having had ‘a day for himself’ today.
Pol Espargaro’s day got off to a complicated start in Texas with an early fall at Turn 18. Able to remount, Espargaro rode his RC213V back to the box and returned to the circuit after just a few minutes on his second machine. Ending the session in sixth and right behind his teammate, the morning finally ended on a positive note. After the session the #44 felt unwell and was left sapped of strength as he battled through stomach discomfort. Missing out on a spot in the combined top ten, Espargaro is hoping a good night’s rest will help him recover his strength. Even with his lack of energy, Espargaro finished the day within a second of the leader and under half a second of his teammate
Conditions are looking almost identical to today on Saturday, Free Practice 3 offering another opportunity to move inside the top ten. With lap times already dipping into the 2’02 bracket, it’s sure to be another tight and hard-fought session.