April 18th, 2015
Superpole One at Assen took part in sunny weather, warmer than it's been so far this weekend. Sylvain Guintoli and Ayrton Badovini were the most likely to advance, twelfth and fourteenth quickest in timed qualifying.
Marc Marquez managed to pull a slim advantage over the field in the third free practice Saturday at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina. Marquez's narrow margin over Cal Crutchlow -- three hundredths of a second -- mirrors what ended up as the smallest differential for the entire field this year: Less than a second separates first through 13th and it is less than three seconds between top spot and 21st and last bike, Alex De Angelis' ART.
The Andreas' Ducatis grabbed the next two slots -- Ianonne 3rd and Dovizioso 4th -- closely followed by the story of the weekend thus far: Aleix Espargaro's factory Suzuki which led the first two practices. The factory Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo (6th) and Valentino Rossi (7th) spent much of the session outside the top 10. But late in FP3 with a slightly softer rear tires in place, both climbed into the top 10 and earned a spot in Q2. Danilo Petrucci put his satellite Ducati into 8th. Right on his heels is the second factory Suzuki of MotoGP rookie Maverick Vinales.
Danny Kent made one thing clear to his rivals during FP3 Saturday at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina: Pick up the pace or fight for second place. Kent's 1'48.854 put him three-tenths of a second clear of the field, set the fastest-ever Moto3 lap at the new circuit and ecliped the record set by Alex Marquez last year.
Efren Vazquez came in second fastest, two-tenths ahead of Miguel Oliveira. Fabio Quartararo continued the remarkable start of his international racing career with fourth, closely followed by John McPhee (5th). Qatar race-winner, Alexis Masbou, arrived in sixth, seven-tenths shy of the leader. The top ten riders are separated by one second.
In the untimed practice, the Kawasaki pairing of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea, with Michael van der Mark third-quickest at his home race.
After a Friday of Jules Cluzel dominating, Kenan Sofuoglu opens today with a quickest lap of 1'38.553 while Cluzel was beaten to second-quickest by PJ Jacobsen.
Leon Haslam set the fastest lap of the session ahead of the Kawasakis of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea, but was unable to beat the time set by Chaz Davies yesterday. Davies was the only rider in the top ten unable to improve on his time from yesterday.
Leon Camier put the MV Agusta into Superpole Two for the first time in the marque's history.
2015 Argentina MotoGP Friday Round Up: Real-Deal Suzukis, Hard Tire Dilemmas, And Ducati's Fuel Issue Explained
Eight years. That's how long it has been since a Suzuki last led two consecutive sessions in the dry. It was 2007, at Shanghai, when John Hopkins topped both FP2 and FP3 on the Suzuki GSV-R. Suzuki had a great year in 2007, spending the previous year developing the GSV-R ready for the start of the 800cc class. John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen amassed one win (in the wet), seven podiums and a pole position that season, including a double podium at Misano. That Suzuki was a great bike, but sadly, it was the last time a Suzuki was truly competitive. It was pretty much all downhill from there.
Until today. Aleix Espargaro was fastest in the morning session at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, but we put that down to the conditions. The track was still very dusty in the morning, turning the standings upside down. Marc Márquez was tenth fastest, behind Mike Di Meglio and Jack Miller, while Valentino Rossi was fourteenth and Jorge Lorenzo twentieth. It was a fluke, we thought.
Then came the afternoon, and Espargaro was fastest once again on the ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-RR. No excuses about the track this time: the combined assault from the fat rubber adorning the MotoGP and Moto2 bikes had cleaned the track up considerably. Moto2 FP1 had already seen Jonas Folger lapping under the pole record set last year, and Danny Kent was just a few hundredths off the Moto3 lap record in FP2. Espargaro's time on the Suzuki was half a second under the race lap record, and half a second faster than the rest of the field. It was just a straight up fast lap.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina:
Press releases from Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit:
Press releases from the series organizer and some of the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the first day of practice in Assen:
Johann Zarco climbed back to the top of the perch just ahead of Sam Lowes by a six-hundredths of a second at the Termas do Rio Hondo circuit Friday. Zarco's 1'43.239 puts him two seconds faster than his FP2 time from 2014. Sam Lowes, winner last week in Austin, came in a tenth back.
Mika Kallio, who was slightly off the pace at COTA and again in Argentina in FP1, appears to found some addiitonal pace for FP2 and finished just a tenth off Zarco's pace. Points leader and Moto2 rookie Alex Rins came in 10th, six-tenths back.
Aleix Espargaro shocked the field with a 1'38.776 lap to lead the second practice at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit Friday in Argentina. Espargaro's time pushed the Spanish rider more than half of a second clear of second place and put Suzuki on top of the timesheet for the second practice in a row.
Suzuki, which this year retured to MotoGP after a three-year absence from motorcycle road racing's top class, has not led two MotoGP practices since former MotoGP rider John Hopkins topped FP2 and FP3 in China in 2007 (according to MotoMatters.com Netherlands-based analytics department). With the strong, top-10 showing by the two-bike team in Austin last week, development of the new GSX-RR appears to be ahead of schedule.
Andrea Iannone put in a late fast lap to take second from World Champion Marc Marquez (3rd). Cal Crutchlow also put in his quick lap near the session's end to grab fourth. Andrea Dovisioso completed the top five, slightly more than six-tenths slower that Espargaro's Suzuki. Yamaha factory riders remained off the pace with Jorge Lorenzo in seventh and Valentino Rossi in ninth.
Danny Kent reminded the field of his dominance at last week's Texas race with a practice lap that put him four-tenths of a second clear of the pack in Argentina. Kent's 1'49.154 just barely ecliped Jack Miller's pole position time from last year. Livio Loi and Karel Hanika claimed second and third with identical times but Loi getting the second place nod based on a faster second-fastest lap.
Last week's second place finisher, 15-year-old Fabio Quartararo, ended the session in sixth, just behind Enea Bastianini (4th) and Miguel Oliveira (5th). The weather appeared to slightly worsen with scattered sprinkles in the warm weather at the Termas Rio Hondo track.
Chaz Davies, fresh from the Ducati's inaugural victory last weekend, records the quickest lap, ahead of the Kawasakis of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea.
The morning's quickest three riders remain the quickest, with Jules Cluzel and Kenan Sofuoglu beating out PJ Jacobsen.