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.
With Andrea Iannone in 11th and headed to Q1, it appears the factory Ducatis have not found the dry-track speed they showed in Qatar. But with rain a possibility in qualifying and in Sunday's race, the order could change rapidly. Remember: Dovisioso topped the timesheet on a wet track in FP1.
|Pos.||No.||Rider||Bike||Time||Diff. / Prev.|
|2||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||2'03.490||0.188 / 0.188|
|3||99||Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||2'03.647||0.345 / 0.157|
|5||38||Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||2'03.666||0.364 / 0.019|
|6||44||Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||2'03.773||0.471 / 0.107|
|7||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||2'03.790||0.488 / 0.017|
|8||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||2'03.850||0.548 / 0.060|
|9||45||Scott REDDING||Honda||2'03.946||0.644 / 0.096|
|10||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati||2'04.030||0.728 / 0.084|
|11||29||Andrea IANNONE||Ducati||2'04.343||1.041 / 0.313|
|12||25||Maverick VIÑALES||Suzuki||2'04.425||1.123 / 0.082|
|13||6||Stefan BRADL||Yamaha Forward||2'04.429||1.127 / 0.004|
|14||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||2'04.845||1.543 / 0.416|
|15||8||Hector BARBERA||Ducati||2'04.876||1.574 / 0.031|
|16||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||Ducati||2'05.048||1.746 / 0.172|
|17||76||Loris BAZ||Yamaha Forward||2'05.931||2.629 / 0.883|
|18||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||Honda||2'05.959||2.657 / 0.028|
|19||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||2'06.225||2.923 / 0.266|
|20||43||Jack MILLER||Honda||2'06.394||3.092 / 0.169|
|21||17||Karel ABRAHAM||Honda||2'06.563||3.261 / 0.169|
|22||50||Eugene LAVERTY||Honda||2'06.636||3.334 / 0.073|
|23||69||Nicky HAYDEN||Honda||2'06.913||3.611 / 0.277|
|24||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||ART||2'07.467||4.165 / 0.554|
|25||33||Marco MELANDRI||Aprilia||2'07.669||4.367 / 0.202|