Marc Marquez has topped the final session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Qatar. The Repsol Honda rider led from the start of the session, going on to improve his time as the session ended. However, the dominance he showed in previous sessions was very much at an end. In the final five minutes of FP3, almost everyone chased a fast time, cutting the gap to Marquez drastically. By the end of FP3, half a second covered the top 10, and the top 15 were all within a second of the Repsol Honda man.
It was Cal Crutchlow who got closest to Marquez, the LCR Honda rider getting with a tenth of a second of the Spaniard with a blistering lap. Andrea Iannone set the third fastest time, but more impressively, set it on a medium tire, rather than the soft the Ducatis are allowed to run. Iannone crashed in Turn 2 with ten minutes to go, leaving him no time to go out for another shot with the softer rear.
Aleix Espargaro did exploit the soft rear, putting the Suzuki into 4th, much to the joy of Suzuki after the two GSX-RRs were sidelined with technical problems at the end of FP2. Andrea Dovizioso ended FP3 in 6th on the GP15, just ahead of Yonny Hernandez on the Pramac Ducati GP14.2. Jorge Lorenzo led a fleet of Yamahas, the double world champion ending in 8th, just ahead of his Movistar Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi and the Tech 3 bike of Pol Espargaro. The Yamahas spent much of the session testing out the hard rear tire, unusually for the Japanese manufacturer. Normally, it is the Hondas which use the hard, while the Yamahas use the medium. At Qatar, that seems to be reversed.
Iannone wasn't the only rider to crash at Turn 2. That corner also claimed Marco Melandri and Loris Baz. It is a very treacherous turn, the first left hander after two rights with the main straight between them.
With almost everyone improving their times in FP3, the top ten from this session will go straight through to Q2. Given how tough the field is, there promises to be a very fierce battle for the last two Q2 places in Q1 tomorrow.
|14||6||Stefan Bradl||Yamaha Forward||1'55.694||0.872||0.018|
|17||63||Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||1'55.866||1.044||0.077|
|22||76||Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||1'57.072||2.250||0.910|
|24||15||Alex De Angelis||ART||1'57.509||2.687||0.402|