MOTOGP: Double Champion Marquez Leads Friday Czech Republic Drills After Big Save

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Marc Marquez led Friday's MotoGP practice ahead of the Czech Republic Grand Prix. (Repsol Honda photo)

Marc Marquez led Friday’s MotoGP practice ahead of the Czech Republic Grand Prix. (Repsol Honda photo)

BRNO, Czech Republic – Two-time MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez led the opening day of premier-class practice at Automotodrom Brno on Friday afternoon.

Marquez made a huge save just before the entrance to pit lane in the second practice, but was unfazed by the near-disaster — going back to the garage, bolting on a fresh tire and using a fresh assault to go all the way to the top of the rundown with a lap time of 1:55.840.

“Today was a positive day because we were able to improve significantly from the first to the second session,” Marquez said. “We’re still not where we would like to be, and although the position is good, the important thing is to work with the race in mind.”

“In the afternoon I was a bit lucky to save a possible crash, similar to one I had in 2014 at this same track during a testing session. This one was even bigger because it was very long and my lean angle was about 67.5 degrees. I just lost the front and when I saved it I told myself, ‘Okay, let’s go back to the box to cool down a bit,’ because I was a little bit excited. It means that we’re pushing hard to find our pace.”

In the final few seconds, Austrian GP winner Andrea Iannone put in a final dash to knock reigning MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo into third after also showing good pace in the morning, as both Iannone and teammate Andrea Dovizioso (sixth) made sure the momentum from their team’s stunning return to winning ways continued to push them forward.

Iannone trailed Marquez by just .104 of a second.

Lorenzo was the fastest Yamaha on Friday, as the three-time MotoGP world champion built on a good morning to improve in the afternoon to third. Lorenzo was only a tenth behind after Marquez and Iannone bettered him late in the session.

Hector Barbera used his Ducati horsepower wisely and was fourth on Friday, ahead of nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi. Aleix Espargaro was seventh behind Dovizioso with an impressive effort despite a broken finger suffered at the Red Bull Ring, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith having a good day at the office in eighth.

Maverick Viñales and Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa completed the top 10.

Repsol Honda and MotoGP Communications contributed to this report.

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