Bradley Smith’s bid for a second successive podium finish at the iconic Indianapolis circuit kicked off in positive fashion this afternoon.
The British rider clocked the fifth best time in an opening 125GP practice run in gloriously sunny conditions, Smith ending with a best time of 1.49.908.
The Oxfordshire rider, who is chasing a first rostrum since the Catalunya Grand Prix in early July, was just 0.079s off the top four.
His best time was only 0.456s away from Marc Marquez, who established himself back at the top after an early mishap.
Marquez suffered a small front-end crash on his Derbi machine but recovered to clock the fastest time of 1.49.452.
That put him 0.151s clear of Pol Espargaro, who goes into Sunday’s 23-lap 125GP trying to close down a 15-point deficit on fellow Spaniard Marquez.
Marquez is looking for his sixth win in seven races this weekend after his golden run of five straight wins ended with seventh race in Brno.
He has never finished higher than sixth though in Indianapolis.
Brno winner Nicolas Terol had to settled for third spot on the Aspar Aprilia. The Spaniard was just 0.095s adrift of Espargaro.
German Sandro Cortese completed the top four. Cortese is looking for his second podium in three races and a best time of 1.49.848 left him just 0.149s behind Terol.
British teenager Danny Webb was as high as third in the opening quarter of the session but dropped back down to ninth at the conclusion to the hour-long practice.
The Kent rider posted a best time of 1.50.745 to finish just over 1.2s away from Marquez.
That time left him just 0.003s off Brno podium finisher Esteve Rabat in eighth as Webb suffered a late scare when he brilliantly saved a near high-side crash.