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Marc Marquez continued to make practice his playfield with the top time in FP4 as riders worked on race setup in anticipation of Sunday's race. Jorge Loranzo again seemed to find additional pace on his Yamaha and looked steadily quicker as the final free practice wore on. Andrea Dovizioso finally managed to find the dry-weather speed his Ducati seemed to intially lack at the COTA racetrack near Austin Texas.
Valentino Rossi managed fourth fastest but that still left him three-quarters of a second from the front. Andrea Iannone also found settings he liked in his factory Ducati and, like his teammate, found a decent dry pace. Cal Crutchlow continued his run as the dominant satellite bike with sixth.
Johann Zarco made a steady climb to the top of the timesheet Saturday finishing the third free practice two-tenths clear of the field at the Circuit of the Americas. Tito Rabat, also a top finisher Friday, managed to grab second place and showed no ill effects of previous practice crashes.
Sam Lowes, who was dominant in two previous practices,took third at three-tenths off Zarco's top time of 2'10.310. In the end, it was the same three top riders as FP2 but with the order changed. The third practice was in the dry with questions remaining about rain forecasted for later in the day.
In the final practice before qualifying, Marc Marquez did what he always does in Texas: He grabbed the top time in emphatic fashion. But a surpise remained during the dry Saturday morning FP3 session at the Circuit of the Americas near Austin.
And that surprise's name is Cal Crutchlow. The satellite Honda rider put in a remarkable lap with three minutes remaining to briefly take the top time of the session only to be eclipsed by a tenth of a second at the session's end. And it wasn't just one fast lap; Crutchlow ran a consistently quick pace in the 45-minute session.
The same can't be said for third-fastest finisher, Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo couldn't seem to find his speed until the end. But when he did, he climbed within three-tenths of Marquez while setting a near identical time to Valentino Rossi (4th). Bradley Smith, who has been quick all weekend, held on for fifth.
Rounding out the remaining five riders who go straight to Q2 are brothers Pol and Aleix Espargaro (who, as a pair, briefly led the entire session). The top factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso was eighth followed closely by the Honda of Scott Redding (9th) and the satellite Ducati of Danilo Petrucci (10th). The top 10 riders are separated by only three-quarters of a second.
Danny Kent grabbed FP3's fastest time and set a new Moto3 lap record Saturday morning at the Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas. Kent's 2'16.195 put him half a second clear of second-fastest rider Miguel Oliveira. An increasingly quick Andrea Locatelli took third, a full second slower than Kent's top spot.
More worriesome to the young Briton's rivals is that he broke the lap record twice. He set the fastest-ever- Moto3 lap with about three minutes remaining in the morning session. Then on his final lap he dropped another tenth from his time.
After a brief rain before the session, condidtions improved enough for the riders to run slicks. But the forecast indicates rain is likely for qualifying.
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 took advantage of a welcome break in the rain to set the top time in FP2 at the COTA in Texas Friday. Masbou, a surprise winner at the season's first race in Qatar, just clipped Andrea Locatelli (2nd) to grab the top time of 2'29.267.
Danny Kent, second-fastest in the first, rain-soaked practice session, took third for the final practice of the day. Conditions for the riders remained tricky with the track having both dry and wet stretches.
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.