Marc Marquez set the pace on opening day of practice for Sunday’s Indianapolis Grand Prix and led the praise for the upgraded and much faster Brickyard road course.
On target for his 10th win of a, so far, unbeaten season, Marquez (Repsol Honda) posted a best lap of 1:32.882, more than six seconds faster than the previous lap record.
Marquez finished 0.2s ahead of Italian youngster Andrea Iannone (Ducati) with Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo third fastest. Seven-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi was ninth.
In terms of lap and race records, the revamped and slightly shorter Indy course is now rated as a new circuit.
The layout has been completely resurfaced and a number of the tighter turns, including turns 3, 4, 7 and the final chicane complex onto the front straight, have been opened up.
The result is more flowing and much faster lap, although Marquez put aside his initial concerns that it may suit his factory Honda RC213V to again dominate.
“The new surface is quite similar to last year but it’s less bumpy and the grip will of course improve throughout the weekend,” Marquez said.
“Maybe for our bike the old layout worked better and the new corners make the lap a little easier. There is certainly more corner speed, more banking in the exit of the corner and we stay on the throttle longer.
“There are definitely less bumps and the new layout makes the track more fun. Now it’s also more suitable to our bike, as there’s no first gear corners," Lorenzo said.
Ducati factory rider Andrea Dovizioso was fourth fastest but is yet to try the upgraded engine specification available for this race.
"The plan is to put the new motor in the bike overnight and start using it from Saturday," Dovizioso said.
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