April 12th, 2015
Eighteen laps of the five kilometre circuit, with everyone taking the same front tyre apart from Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes going for the softer option.
The press room is usually a pit of cynicism. Races and laps which have the fans on their feet are met with polite applause at best, mild disinterest at worst. But not today. After Marc Márquez had parked his ailing Repsol Honda against pit wall, vaulted over the wall and sprinted back to his garage, jumped on to his back up bike – fitted with the wrong front tire and a far from perfect set up – then set off on his out lap, making it back across the line with three seconds to spare, and post one of the most fearsome laps ever witnessed aboard a MotoGP bike, the room erupted in heartfelt and solid applause. There was no cheering, no utterances of joy. Just loud and prolonged applause, appreciation of what we had just seen. We knew we were witnessing a piece of MotoGP history, and were in awe of what we had just seen. If you ever wanted to see the definition of awesome – something that will fill you with awe – then just watch that lap by Marc Márquez.
The layout of Motorland Aragon has been changed to the FIM standard, resetting all qualifying and race records, with the fiddly hairpin and chicane at the end of the track replaced with the same last turn as MotoGP, referred to as turns sixteen and seventeen but taken as a single double-apex left-hander.
Marc Marquez continued to make practice his playfield with the top time in FP4 as riders worked on race setup in anticipation of Sunday's race. Jorge Loranzo again seemed to find additional pace on his Yamaha and looked steadily quicker as the final free practice wore on. Andrea Dovizioso finally managed to find the dry-weather speed his Ducati seemed to intially lack at the COTA racetrack near Austin Texas.
Valentino Rossi managed fourth fastest but that still left him three-quarters of a second from the front. Andrea Iannone also found settings he liked in his factory Ducati and, like his teammate, found a decent dry pace. Cal Crutchlow continued his run as the dominant satellite bike with sixth.
Johann Zarco made a steady climb to the top of the timesheet Saturday finishing the third free practice two-tenths clear of the field at the Circuit of the Americas. Tito Rabat, also a top finisher Friday, managed to grab second place and showed no ill effects of previous practice crashes.
Sam Lowes, who was dominant in two previous practices,took third at three-tenths off Zarco's top time of 2'10.310. In the end, it was the same three top riders as FP2 but with the order changed. The third practice was in the dry with questions remaining about rain forecasted for later in the day.
In the final practice before qualifying, Marc Marquez did what he always does in Texas: He grabbed the top time in emphatic fashion. But a surpise remained during the dry Saturday morning FP3 session at the Circuit of the Americas near Austin.
And that surprise's name is Cal Crutchlow. The satellite Honda rider put in a remarkable lap with three minutes remaining to briefly take the top time of the session only to be eclipsed by a tenth of a second at the session's end. And it wasn't just one fast lap; Crutchlow ran a consistently quick pace in the 45-minute session.
The same can't be said for third-fastest finisher, Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo couldn't seem to find his speed until the end. But when he did, he climbed within three-tenths of Marquez while setting a near identical time to Valentino Rossi (4th). Bradley Smith, who has been quick all weekend, held on for fifth.
Rounding out the remaining five riders who go straight to Q2 are brothers Pol and Aleix Espargaro (who, as a pair, briefly led the entire session). The top factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso was eighth followed closely by the Honda of Scott Redding (9th) and the satellite Ducati of Danilo Petrucci (10th). The top 10 riders are separated by only three-quarters of a second.
World Supersport qualifying took place in 19°C weather with no major incidents.
A few days ago, rain was rumoured for Superpole, but the weather was not an issue for qualifying at Aragon.
Danny Kent grabbed FP3's fastest time and set a new Moto3 lap record Saturday morning at the Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas. Kent's 2'16.195 put him half a second clear of second-fastest rider Miguel Oliveira. An increasingly quick Andrea Locatelli took third, a full second slower than Kent's top spot.
More worriesome to the young Briton's rivals is that he broke the lap record twice. He set the fastest-ever- Moto3 lap with about three minutes remaining in the morning session. Then on his final lap he dropped another tenth from his time.
After a brief rain before the session, condidtions improved enough for the riders to run slicks. But the forecast indicates rain is likely for qualifying.
In the untimed practice session, Tom Sykes put in the quickest lap ahead of Superpole, with the Aprilia pair of Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres half a second behind.
Kenan Sofuoglu set the fastest time in the morning's session, beating out Kyle Smith and Jules Cluzel. Qualifying is looking strung out as laptimes drop rapidly outside the top seven places and many riders have been unable to improve on their times from yesterday, including PJ Jacobsen whose time from yesterday is still the third-quickest of the weekend.
The entries for Superpole have been decided and Chaz Davies sits in provisional pole, with Jonathan Rea and Davies's Ducati teammate Xavi Forres filling out the top three spots. Kawasaki's Tom Sykes was the only rider in the top fifteen unable to improve on his best time from yesterday, but his time was good enough for him to split the Aprilias of Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres on the provisional second row.