The first sessions of practice for the Barcelona Superprestigio event took place on Friday evening, and the man behind the event is fastest, as might be expected. Marc Marquez posted a lap of 11.797 during his second run on the track, ahead of Toni Elias, with an 11.8. Jared Mees and Brad Baker were the fastest of the Open riders, for off road and dirt track specialists, both posting times in the 11.9 bracket.
Headline times are not the full story, however, with Marquez' times less consistent than the two Americans. Brad Baker was particularly impressive, posting a long strings of 11.9s, showing he has good race pace. Both Mees and Baker had the added disadvantage of being first out on track, when there was the least rubber laid down. The track is in excellent condition, though, the organization having learned its lesson in the first two years for track preparation. If anything, the track is too smooth and hard packed, with little room to allow moisture to enter.
Jared Mees and Brad Baker have been in Spain for a week now, and both have trained at both the Rancho Canudas run by Kenny Noyes and Marquez' home track in Rufea. Marquez and Mees swapped bikes, something which Marquez found instructive. Mees' bike was set up to be taller, and have more rear grip, something which is crucial for getting drive out of corners. That is the key to going fast in dirt track, especially on a very short track like the one at Barcelona.
Marquez was also briefly asked about Valentino Rossi withdrawing his CAS appeal against the penalty imposed at Sepang. Marquez told the press conference he was glad the issue was closed. "It's a good decision for MotoGP," he said. "The action is closed, the season is closed. I respect his decision." He added that he hoped that the relationship between himself and Rossi could at some point become a little more normalized.
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