BRNO (CZECH REPUBLIC): Champion-ship leader Mar Marquez fought a sore shoulder on Friday to set the leading time in free practices ahead of Sunday’s (Monday in Manila) Czech MotoGP in Brno.
A week after dislocating his shoulder ahead of the Austrian GP, the Spanish Honda rider clocked 1min 55.840sec on the 5,403-metre circuit in the Czech Republic’s second city.
Marquez miraculously saved himself from another crash in Friday’s second practice as he managed to raise the bike sliding through a turn and balance the subsequent wobble.
Andrea Iannone on a Ducati, who claimed his maiden top-class victory in Austria last week, came second 0.104sec behind Marquez.
Reigning world champion and last year’s Brno winner Jorge Lorenzo of Spain, on a Yamaha, was 0.137 seconds slower than Marquez in third.
The top three were the only ones to beat the 1min 56sec mark.
Spanish Ducati rider Hector Barbera from the open-class Avintia Racing team pulled a surprise setting the fourth fastest time ahead of Italian legend Valentino Rossi, the nine-time world champion.
Rossi, who scored his first-ever grand prix victory in Brno exactly 20 years ago, has won five top-class races at Brno, the last win coming in 2009.
Marquez, who took his only MotoGP victory in Brno in his rookie season in 2013, leads the overall standings on 181 points, ahead of Lorenzo with 138 and Rossi with 124.