MotoGP Silverstone: Crutchlow fastest as Marquez crashes twice

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Picture: Impact Images

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow ended the opening day of MotoGP free practice at the top of the tree, bagging top spot on the timesheet with the only sub-2’01s lap of the day while HRC stablemate Marc Marquez crashed twice.

Crutchlow led the way early doors on the Castrol LCR Honda, putting in a 2’01.918 on the hard Michelin rear before switching to the soft rear for a time attack lap and setting a 2’00.897 to end a quarter of a second ahead of Valentino Rossi’s Movistar Yamaha with Maverick Vinales in third and a further half a second in arrears.

The reigning world champion was caught out by a cold tyre at the start of his first flying lap of the session, getting spat over the highside of his RC213V at Becketts. The Spaniard crawled to the barriers before getting a lift back to the garage.

It took the youngster four minutes to regain his composure and go back out on his second bike and immediately jump to the top of the sheets, putting in a 2’01.611. He remained there until Crutchlow - equipped with a soft rear - set his quickest time.

As he tried to fight back to the top, Marquez then asked too much of his hard front Michelin and became a faller at Aintree but rode back to the pits, missing the new flag to flag bike swap trial, which involves lollipop ladies.

Rossi spent most of his session on the hard rear Michelin, putting in seven laps in the 2’02s before moving to the soft rear. Vinales adopted the same kind of strategy and achieved the same results on hard and soft rears.

Aleix Espargaro jumped into fourth place with his last lap, using a soft rear to set a 2’01.592 despite carrying a rib injury. Marquez took fifth ahead of Jorge Lorenzo with the KTM of Pol Espargaro taking seventh with his soft tyre.

After spending this morning on harder options, Johann Zarco reverted to his preferred soft rear for the session, putting in 15 laps with a best of 2’01.885. Against, type Andrea Dovizioso worked the hard rear this afternoon, and ended in ninth with Scott Redding coming into tenth with a 2’01.893.

It was another disaster for Dani Pedrosa who didn’t find any pace, ending down in 17th place with Sam Lowes and Bradley Smith bringing up the rear.

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Marquez surveys the damage of his Becketts highside
Marquez surveys the damage of his Becketts highside Picture: Impact Images