Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice in Austin:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Austin:
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the first day of practice at Aragon:
Thanks to the homologation agreements that have been reached, the arrival of Bimota brings the number of manufacturers competing in World Superbike to nine. Their bike is the usual blend of bespoke chassis and off the shelf engine, with a BMW S1000RR power plant being at the heart of their BB3 project. Needing only 125 bikes to be available for sale before the bike is eligible to score points, down from 1000, Bimota will still not be eligible to score points until that number is reached. Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon are able at least to run their EVO class bikes in the races even if they can't yet score points. It is estimated that they will reach the required 125 bikes in four months.
Johann Zarco made this point clear to the Moto2 field: The first free practice was no fluke. Zarco, who finished sixth in the race here last year, set the fastest time for the second practice in a row Friday at the COTA circuit with a 2'10.839. He was the only Moto2 rider to dip into the 2'10s.
The time is two-tenths of a second better than Dominic Aegerter's second fastest showing and just three-tenths slower than the pole-position time from last year (set by Scott Redding).
Tito Rabat also upped his pace from FP1 but only closed to third-fastest, three-tenths shy of of Zarco's time. Maverick Vinales (4th) and Xavier Simeon (5th) ended their day only four-thousandths of a second apart.
For all joy in the Caterham-Suter team with Zarco's pace, there also came a sobering reality: Teammate and lone American in Moto2 -- former AMA superbike champion and Moto2 rookie Josh Herrin -- nearly gave the team the odd distinction of having both the fastest and slowest times on the sheet with his 30th-place showing, nearly four seconds off the pace.
Perhaps it was the rumor that a certain retired Australian was in Texas and planned to stop by. Regardless, Marc Marquez did his best Casey Stoner impression during FP2 when he gapped the field by more than a full second Friday at Austin's Circuit of the Americas. Marquez's time -- 2'03.490 -- was just four-tenths of a second from his pole position lap in 2013.
Andrea Dovisioso again showed the short-term quickness of the Ducati with a 2'04.485, almost exactly one second slower than Marquez's time. Dani Predrosa upped his pace late to grab third, another tenth back. Ducati's other Andrea -- the Iannone model -- managed an impressive fifth on his satellite bike. Valentino Rossi, who held third early in practice, dropped to fifth, just in front of Aleix Espargaro and his open class Yamaha in sixth.
Stefan Bradl, who ran strong in Qatar before crashing out, sits in seventh. An obviously irritated Jorge Lorenzo climbed into eighth after spending much of the day's final MotoGP practice in 11th. Cal Crutchlow (9th) and Bradley Smith (10th) rounded out the top 10.
Efren Vazquez set the fastest Moto3 lap of the weekend Friday afternoon at the COTA track near Austin in the second free practice. Vazquez's 2'16.696 put him a little more than one-tenth better than rival Jack Miller and within a few tenths of last year's pole.
Miller, winner of the season's first race at Qatar, led for much of the second free practice before Vazquez put in the top lap. Isaac Vinales finished the day's final Moto3 session in third, a half a second back. Alex Rins, winner last year at COTA, finished in fifth, just behind an increasingly quick Jakub Kornfeil (4th).
With seven minutes remaining in the first Moto2 free practice at the Circuit of the Americas Friday, Johann Zarco claimed the top spot and didn't let go. Zarco's 2'11.788 put him one-tenth of a second clear of the tight field at the Texas track. Xavier Simeon, who spent most of FP1 lingering around the bottom of the top 10, set a final, blistering lap with no time remaining to claim the second-fastest time.
Tito Rabat, race winner in Qatar, managed third, just ahead of Dominic Aegerter (4th) and Simone Corsi (5th). Takaaki Nakagami, who led much of the early session dropped into sixth as the pace quickened at the end.
Maverick Vinales, last year's Moto3 champion, settled into seventh, a tenth ahead of Mattia Passini. Ant West, who low-sided while holding the fifth-fastest time with five minutes remaining, ended his first practice in ninth, followed by Jordo Torres.
Last year's winner, Nicolas Terol, managed only 22nd, which was six places ahead Josh Herrin (28th), the only American on the track in Texas for Moto 2.
Marc Marquez continued where he left off last year with the fastest time in the first free practice at the Circuit of the America's track near Austin, Texas. Marquez, both the pole sitter and race winner here in 2013, set a time at 2'04.704 on Friday, leaving him left eight-tenths of a second clear of the field.
Aleix Espargaro, who impressed in practice on his open-class Yamaha at the previous race in Qatar, set the second-fastest time at the end of FP1 with a 2'05'591. Using the soft-compound tire, the elder Espargaro brother just clipped third-quickest Dani Pedrosa, last year's second-place race finisher. Valentino Rossi's 2'05.676 puts him fourth-fastest, more than a full second behind Marquez, the 2014 championship points leader after one race.
Andrea Dovizioso put his Ducati into fifth after holding third for much of the session.
Marquez, who won his first MotoGP race last year at this circuit, not only set the fastest time, he also set the fastest time in each of the 3.4-mile-track's four sectors. (Cue ominous music.)
Alex Rins set the pace in the early at the Circuit of the Americas track near Austin, Texas Friday with a 2'17.964. Efren Vazquez ended FP1 second fastest, just four-hundredths shy of the leader with Jack Miller another four-tenths back.
Miller, winner of the previous race in Qatar, led much of the session. But Rins upped the pace late, setting his fastest lap at the end of the Friday's first practice under a clear sky sky with light winds. Rins' time is faster than his FP1 in the circuit's inaugural race in 2013. But it remains a full second off Rins' COTA pole-sitting time from last year.
Isaac Vinales, fast the whole session, grabbed fourth. Alex Marquez -- Rins' teammate and little brother to MotoGP's Marc -- crashed unhurt late in the session on a fast lap. Still, he managed fifth at six-tenths off the leader's pace.
2014 Austin MotoGP Thursday Round Up: Edwards Retires, Blandspeak Returns, And The Dearth Of US Racers
It was fitting – some might say inevitable – that Colin Edwards chose the Grand Prix of the Americas in his home state of Texas to announce his retirement. He had just spent the last couple of weeks at home, with his growing kids, doing dad stuff like taking them to gymnastics and baseball and motocross, then hosted a group, including current GP riders and a couple of journos, at his Bootcamp dirt track school. He had had time to mull over his future, then talk it over with his wife Ally, and come to a decision. There wasn't really a much better setting for the double World Superbike champion to announce he was calling it quits than sitting next to former teammate Valentino Rossi, the American he fought so memorably with in 2006, Nicky Hayden, the latest US addition to the Grand Prix paddock Josh Herrin, and with Marc Marquez, prodigy and 2013 MotoGP champion. It felt right. Sad, but right.
You can read the full story of Edwards' retirement here, but his announcement highlighted two different problems for motorcycle racing. One local, one global, and neither particularly easy to fix. The loss of Colin Edwards sees the MotoGP paddock, indeed all of international motorcycle racing, robbed of its most outspoken and colorful character. Edwards was a straight talker, with a colorful turn of phrase and uninhibited manner of speech. His interviews were five parts home truths, five parts witticisms and a handful of obscenities thrown in for good measure. He livened up press conferences, racing dinners, and casual conversations alike.