2015 Qatar MotoGP FP3 Result: Marquez Leads Very Tight Field In Scintillating Session

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.

Results:

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'54.822    
2 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'54.918 0.096 0.096
3 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1'54.992 0.170 0.074
4 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1'54.994 0.172 0.002
5 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1'55.024 0.202 0.030
6 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'55.044 0.222 0.020
7 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati 1'55.102 0.280 0.058
8 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1'55.108 0.286 0.006
9 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'55.192 0.370 0.084
10 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 1'55.328 0.506 0.136
11 8 Hector Barbera Ducati 1'55.396 0.574 0.068
12 45 Scott Redding Honda 1'55.447 0.625 0.051
13 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki 1'55.676 0.854 0.229
14 6 Stefan Bradl Yamaha Forward 1'55.694 0.872 0.018
15 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'55.777 0.955 0.083
16 69 Nicky Hayden Honda 1'55.789 0.967 0.012
17 63 Mike Di Meglio Ducati 1'55.866 1.044 0.077
18 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha 1'55.905 1.083 0.039
19 50 Eugene Laverty Honda 1'55.913 1.091 0.008
20 17 Karel Abraham Honda 1'56.080 1.258 0.167
21 43 Jack Miller Honda 1'56.162 1.340 0.082
22 76 Loris Baz Yamaha Forward 1'57.072 2.250 0.910
23 19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1'57.107 2.285 0.035
24 15 Alex De Angelis ART 1'57.509 2.687 0.402
25 33 Marco Melandri Aprilia 1'59.339 4.517 1.830

 

Round Number: 
1
2015
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Total votes: 32

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Comments

Aleix continues to impress on the GSX-RR. Lots of good progress being made all around the paddock by various riders. The yamaha guys have to be feeling a little bit of heat right now! But tomorrow is a new day and after QP2 we should have a slightly clearer picture of things. You have to love this!

Is it just me or do I get a sense that Marco Melandri just doesn't want to be there? The body language was bad enough before the session, but after that hard crash in turn 2 in FP2 it's just gotten worse. It almost makes you want to cringe watching him slog around out there. Alvaro is taking things in much better stride. I do hope things get better for those boys, it's going to be a long season for them.

Total votes: 75

If Melandri's race is as bad as we all fear, I really wonder if we will see him at the start in Austin. Contract or not, at some point Aprilia will put him out of his misery. Results like this are bad for all parties involved.

Total votes: 56

Looking at the analysis, Dovi has 6 sub 56 rounds, Rossi 5, Marquez 4, Pedrosa 4 and Lorenzo 3. Final timesheet doesn't tell the hole story obviously...

Total votes: 67

I looked at the analysis before posting this time. I see Marquez doing runs of 1:55.0, with Lorenzo and Rossi both looking at 1:55.2 / 1:55.3 maybe (Lorenzo towards the faster end there, although Rossi is stalking forward)? Hard to tell but that seems to be the case. I see Ducati and Pedrosa at 1:55.5 on their longer runs. Cal, Aleix etc. are harder to read because they were one-lap wonders.

What's remarkable is how down on power (or grip) Yamaha must be - they are 10kph down on Ducati and Honda, and only 5kph up on Suzuki. 10kph is very meaningful, and I'm skeptical that this is all grip-related.

This is going to be a wild race, esp. if Lorenzo and Rossi qualify poorly because both are closing on Marquez's race-pace, but the one-lap pace of many bikes seems better. I wonder if this is set-up or the track rubbering-in. Yamaha has closed the gap considerably.

Total votes: 63

What baffles me even more is that the Tech 3 Yamahas have constantly had 5-8kph higher top speed than the Factory team. The deficit to the Ducatis and Hondas is much smaller there.

Total votes: 50

Actually, Dovi has 7 sub 56...

Total votes: 65

I would say it was Ianonne who led most of the session, closely followed by Pedrosa. It was with three minutes to go that Marquez claimed the fastest lap, or so the Fastest Lap Sequence sheet says.

The last five minutes were frantic, we might be in for an amazing QP!

Total votes: 70

I was watching the flash version of the live timing on MotoGP.com, and they show the best times of the weekend during FP3, and only update if they go faster. I though Marquez had put in a fast lap at the start of the session, didn't realize Iannone had gone faster. 

Total votes: 63

Thanks David, now I understand what happened, I hope it didn't sound rude (it was not the intention). I followed it through the "reduced" live timing in the main page (not the full live timing), and they were showing only FP3 times, not the weekend best times. Now I am watching the FP3 replay in the TV and I really find it confusing, you don't get the idea of what is going on in the practice (only at the end when they started beating FP1 and FP2 times).

Nowadays, the end of the FP3 is quite like the QP, with everyone on time attack mode to avoid QP1. It really adds some spice to this practice. Interesting also to see the field so close this year, rider in 19th position is just 1 second behind Marquez! Surely the show is improving every year.

Total votes: 56

W O W !
Close field.
I am assuming that with the fresh addition of the seamless for the Yamaha that they have some sorting going on now that could indicate some as yet unfounded tenths for race pace. The bike is going to be easier and less tiring at distance.

Poor Marco Melan(choly)dri. Hang in there until the tire change and 2016 Aprilia arrives buddy! And don't watch any WSBK races.

Let's race!
:)

Total votes: 49

Laverty.

Very impressive for the MotoGP rookie to be that close on a low-tech RS. It would be an interesting comparison to tote up how much the Factory seamless machine with Marquez or Pedrosa's wages is worth vs the el cheapo RS with the peanuts Laverty would be paid, just to go 1 second faster.

Yeah yeah soft tyres and all that but it still gives a glimpse of the cubic dollars required to chase incremental improvements.

Speaking of which it looks like Yamaha are finding out that having a fully seamless gearbox is only part of the riddle they have to solve. Me thinks Marquez will be gone-burger by the time they do.

Total votes: 69

Laverty is indeed doing well on the Honda. Miller too - I think 1.34 off Marquez is about the best gap Miller has managed to date during preseason testing and now FP?

Total votes: 53

I have no Crystal Ball on this one. Looking at the analysis for the practice session I can not make a prediction except for Marquez will be top three guaranteed unless he gets hurt.
Do feel like Crutchlow may squeeze out o e good lap that might possibly take pole. He is coming to grips quickly with that Honda. Other than those two I am going to watch and let them all surprise me.

Total votes: 66

From the chart above it looks like Pol is far outshining his teammate (again).

Those RS honda's seem much better than last years offering as well, all four of them within 1.4s of Marquez.

Total votes: 52

there still 13 to 15 mph slower though.

Total votes: 59