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Marc Marquez didn't set the fastest-ever lap at Austin's Circuit of the Americas Saturday during the third qualifying practice; His fast lap of 2'03.046 fell four-hundredths of a second shy of his own lap record from last year. Even so, the reigning world champion ended the third free practice seven-tenths clear of the pack in the session that sets the table for the two MotoGP qualifying practices later in the day.
Stefan Bradl managed the second-best time, just eclipsing Honda factory rider Dani Pedrosa (3rd). Andrea Dovizioso continued his strong practice showing with a fourth-fastest time on his Ducati, nearly nine-tenths of a second behind the leader.
Bradley Smith rebounded from his struggles in FP2 -- where he was 10th fastest -- to grab the fifth spot. Smith was the final rider to finish within a second of Marquez and even topped the sheets in one of the four lap sectors.
But what's good for Smith is worrisome for Yamaha. Not only did rival Honda grab the top three times, Smith, in fifth, is the top Yamaha. Factory rider Jorge Lorenzo, who started strong in FP3, faded late to seventh, finishing just behind Andrea Iannone's Ducati (6th).
Cal Crutchlow put his factory Ducati into eighth followed by the Yamahas Pol Espargaro (9th) and Valentino Rossi (10th).
The top 10 riders will return to the track for Q2. The riders who finished out of the top 10 in FP3 will first compete in Q1 to determine the order of the bottom half of the grid. However, the top two riders from Q1 will compete in Q2.
|Pos.||No.||Riders||Bike||Time||Diff. / Prev.|
|2||6||Stefan BRADL||Honda||2'03.791||0.745 / 0.745|
|3||26||Dani PEDROSA||Honda||2'03.934||0.888 / 0.143|
|4||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||2'03.939||0.893 / 0.005|
|5||38||Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||2'03.963||0.917 / 0.024|
|6||29||Andrea IANNONE||Ducati||2'04.104||1.058 / 0.141|
|7||99||Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||2'04.175||1.129 / 0.071|
|8||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||Ducati||2'04.217||1.171 / 0.042|
|9||44||Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||2'04.280||1.234 / 0.063|
|10||46||Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||2'04.311||1.265 / 0.031|
|11||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||Honda||2'04.710||1.664 / 0.399|
|12||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||Forward Yamaha||2'04.718||1.672 / 0.008|
|13||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||2'05.387||2.341 / 0.669|
|14||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||Honda||2'05.401||2.355 / 0.014|
|15||45||Scott REDDING||Honda||2'05.778||2.732 / 0.377|
|16||69||Nicky HAYDEN||Honda||2'06.228||3.182 / 0.450|
|17||17||Karel ABRAHAM||Honda||2'06.888||3.842 / 0.660|
|18||8||Hector BARBERA||Avintia||2'07.158||4.112 / 0.270|
|19||5||Colin EDWARDS||Forward Yamaha||2'07.418||4.372 / 0.260|
|20||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ART||2'07.593||4.547 / 0.175|
|21||23||Broc PARKES||PBM||2'07.842||4.796 / 0.249|
|22||70||Michael LAVERTY||PBM||2'08.089||5.043 / 0.247|
|23||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||Avintia||2'08.122||5.076 / 0.033|