Suzuki rider Iannone tops Austin MotoGP free-practice sessions

Suzuki rider Iannone tops Austin MotoGP free-practice sessions 

Repsol Honda Team rider Marc Marquez of Spain prepares on April 21, 2018, for the third free practice session ahead of the Grand Prix of the Americas MotoGP race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, USA. EPA-EFE/PAUL BUCK

Austin, Texas, Apr 21 (efe-epa).- Italian Suzuki rider Andrea Iannone finished with the fastest time in the free practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix of the Americas, while Spanish Honda rider and defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez also has booked an automatic spot in the second round of qualifying.

Marquez was the fastest rider in Saturday’s rain-disrupted, 45-minute third and last free practice session (FP3) at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, recording a lap of 2:04.608.

That left him just 0.009 seconds behind Iannone, who posted his best lap in Friday’s FP2.

Like Marquez, French Tech3 Yamaha rider Johann Zarco also improved on his Friday free practice time and booked a direct berth in Saturday afternoon’s Q2.

Other riders to book automatic berths in Q2 were Yamaha riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi, who finished third and fourth, respectively in the practice sessions, just ahead of Zarco.

Also making it to Q2 were LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, Suzuki’s Alex Rins, Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo and Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.

The other riders will have to compete in Saturday’s Q1 for one of the two remaining spots in Q2.

Sunday’s Grand Prix of the Americas will be the third race of the 2018 MotoGP season.

Crutchlow currently leads the riders’ standings with 38 points, just three ahead of Dovizioso. Marquez is in fifth place with 20 points after two races.