- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Marc Marquez has been complaining about poor acceleration on his Repsol Honda. He is making up for it with a slightly new approach to how he navigates the Circuit of the Americas, the track where he has won three years in a row with power no one else could match.

Marquez turned in the fastest laps in both practice sessions Friday at the Grand Prix of the Americas, shaking off a spill in the afternoon that left him walking his motorcycle back to the garage.

Although frustrated by what he calls a lack of top acceleration this year, Marquez said he is adjusting by taking his turns wider to “come back with speed.”

That takes learning new driving lines on the track the 23-year-old Spaniard has dominated and his fastest lap Friday was 2 minutes, 4.034 seconds. Marquez said like all the riders, he is still adjusting to the series’ new Michelin tires, a change from previous supplier Bridgestone.

“Speed is more related to corners,” he said. “You must manage well. To do these lines, you have to have confidence in the tires.”

Marquez crashed about 20 minutes into the afternoon session. He was rounding the final turn into the closing straight and broke too late into the corner. The motorcycle and rider tumbled to his left and Marquez slid just to the edge of the gravel safety area. He returned to the track after about a 10-minute break.

The spot has been a troubling one for Marquez in the past. He nearly dumped his cycle there on the final lap of his win in 2014.

Marquez had predicted Ducati, which hasn’t won since 2010, could challenge him for the lead. Ducati rider Andrea Iannone was right behind him Friday at 2:04.740.

Iannone, who crashed with teammate Andrea Dovizioso on the final lap last week in Argentina, costing his team a 2-3 finish, wasn’t ready to say he’ll catch Marquez - yet.

“We are very close,” Iannone said. “We’ll try to improve off the corners tomorrow.”

Suzuki rider Maverick Vinales was third-fastest in Friday practice. Vinales has yet to reach the podium in his second season in MotoGP.

Marquez won the season championship in 2013 and 2014 and leads again after two races with his win in Argentina. He finished third last year behind Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.

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