April 11th, 2015
In the untimed practice session, Tom Sykes put in the quickest lap ahead of Superpole, with the Aprilia pair of Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres half a second behind.
Kenan Sofuoglu set the fastest time in the morning's session, beating out Kyle Smith and Jules Cluzel. Qualifying is looking strung out as laptimes drop rapidly outside the top seven places and many riders have been unable to improve on their times from yesterday, including PJ Jacobsen whose time from yesterday is still the third-quickest of the weekend.
The entries for Superpole have been decided and Chaz Davies sits in provisional pole, with Jonathan Rea and Davies's Ducati teammate Xavi Forres filling out the top three spots. Kawasaki's Tom Sykes was the only rider in the top fifteen unable to improve on his best time from yesterday, but his time was good enough for him to split the Aprilias of Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres on the provisional second row.
2015 Austin Friday MotoGP Round Up: Postponed Sessions, Stray Dogs, and The Final Word On Casey Stoner
The day did not start well. It was not just the high winds and the rain which created problems at the Circuit of the Americas. An absence of track staff – apparently, a lack of medical marshals when the first session of the day was due to start – meant that FP1 for the Moto3 class was delayed by three quarters of an hour. Conditions were pretty miserable once they got underway, but, it turned out, things could be worse. That became apparent when the MotoGP session was red flagged, after a stray dog ran onto the track – that's on the track, not along the side, but actually on it. It took a good fifteen minutes to chase the dog off the track and towards safety, making the old cliché about herding cats seem strangely inappropriate.
By the time practice resumed, the original schedule had gone to hell. The qualifying session for the MotoAmerica Superbike class was rapidly dropped, and the lunch break dispensed with, getting the event quickly back on track.
Despite the weirdness, it turned into a good day. The rain all morning meant the track was at least consistently wet for all three FP1 sessions, as well as FP2 for Moto3. Rainfall stopped towards the end of that practice, with MotoGP starting on a wet track, but the surface drying rapidly, bar a stream of water crossing the back straight. That was a little unsettling, several riders finding themselves in trouble with aquaplaning through it. Overall, though, the consensus was that the track offered pretty reasonable grip in the wet.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at the Circuit of the Americas:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Austin:
Press releases after the first day of practice for the World Superbike series at Motorland Aragon:
Sam Lowes made the most of difficult track conditions to again lead a free practice Friday near Austin, Texas. Lowes' 2'10.563 not only set the top time of the session, it bettered his FP2 time from 2014 by two seconds, even though track conditions at COTA this year are worse. Moreover, last year he lingered in 22nd during FP2 and finished the race in 19th.
To put it lightly, things for the Briton are looking up -- mostly. Lowes crashed hard in both sessions but walked away from each.
Johann Zarco finished right on Lowes' heels, only a tenth off. And current world champion Tito Rabat, who also has had crashing issues at both races thus far, managed third-fastest.
Marc Marquez, who spent a fair bit of the second MotoGP free practice off the top of the timesheet, reclaimed his hold at COTA with a blistering 2'04.835 in mixed conditions. The only rider to dip into the 2'04s, Marquez reminded everyone that he still is the rider to beat at the Texas circuit where he has been dominant.
Cal Crutchlow, on a satellite Honda, was relegated to second after holding the top spot in the final Friday practice for the MotoGP class. And Andrea Iannone, who finished third at the Losail circuit in the season's first contest, continued his strong form with a third-fastest time. Right behind him was the surprisingly quick Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro. Iannone's factory Ducati teammate, Andrea Doviziso, claimed fifth-fastest, eight-tenths behind the top spot. Qatar race winner Valentino Rossi grabbed sixth.
Conditions began in the wet but dried rapidly as the session progressed. At the start of the final 15 minutes of the 45-minute practice, riders pitted and switched to full slicks as the track heated up. However, qualifying and race weather are predicted to be wet.
Alexis Masbou has topped the second session of free practice for the Moto3 class at Austin. The Frenchman gained speed as the track started to dry and the session progressed, taking over the lead from Andrea Locatelli. Locatellli had swapped top spot with Danny Kent for much of the session, before losing out to the Frenchman.
The rain stopped falling in FP2 a little way into the start of the session, but the track was still very wet from the rain. The track dried up in patches, but conditions were left extremely treacherous, with several riders crashing on the tricky surface.
Sam Lowes survived a crash-filled first free practice - including his own -- to set the top time at a wet, Circuit of the Americas near Austin Texas Friday. Lowes' 2'26.356 put him two-tenths over Johann Zarco and a full half-second better than third-fastest Franco Morbidelli.
The wet conditions saw both Lowes, Tito Rabat and Alex Marquez crash. Lowes, however, managed to recover from his turn 15 highside to set the top time.
Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso grabbed the top spot in the first free practice Friday at the Circuit of the Americas track near Austin, Texas. Dovizioso set the fast time of 2'19.402 on his last lap of practice, just pipping current world champion Marc Marquez in the wet session. Marquez, who led much of FP1 and who has earned pole positions and race wins at both of the races at the new track, finished second at four-tenths back. Scott Redding put his satellite Honda into third, more than a full second off Dovizioso's time.
Rain during all of FP1 meant the times were well off last year's dry session. More importantly, with concerns that conditions might worsen throughout the weekend, riders pushed to establish the wet setup of the bikes as a dry qualifying or race began to seem increasingly unlikely.
The session also marked the second delay of Friday practices at the 5.5 km. (3.4 m) circuit. The start of the Moto3 practice was delayed by insufficient staffing out on the circuit. Then the MotoGP session was red-flagged briefly when a dog ran out on the track. The dog, while nearly as quick as the backmarkers in his first split time, did not set a sufficiently fast lap to continue on to FP2.
After a 50-minute delay attributed to track staffing issues, the first free practice at Austin's Circuit of the America's ended with Niccolo Antonelli taking the top spot in wet conditions. Antonelli's fast lap of 2'31.668 made him the only rider to dip into the 2.31s during the session at the Texas racetrack. Danny Kent, who led for much of FP1 and finished third in the previous race at the Losail circuit, ended the practice with the second-fastest time but nearly a second from Antonelli's best lap. Andrea Locatelli settled into third, a full two seconds back.
Qatar race-winner Alexis Masbou could do no better in than 14th in the rain as riders initially struggled to get within 20 seconds of the dry practice times in the previous year. In the 2014 FP1, Alex Rins set a 2'17.964 in the dry. Wet weather is expect to continue through the weekend.
Jonathan Rea, winner of three out of the four races this year, outqualified his Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes by under two tenths of a second. The Ducati pair of Chaz Davies and Xavi Forres continue their morning's form with the third and fourth quickest times.
PJ Jacobsen sets the fastest lap of the weekend, beating out Kenan Sofuoglu for the top spot. Jules Cluzel and title leader Film Wilairot are within a second of Jacobsen's best lap.