2015 Indianapolis MotoGP FP3 Result: Marquez Sets Pace In Thrilling Session

Marc Marquez turned the thumbscrews in the final session of free practice for the MotoGP class, the Repsol Honda rider setting a blistering pace even in race set up, with only Jorge Lorenzo able to follow in the first part of FP3. Marquez remained ahead in the final part of the session, as riders started chasing quick times looking for safe passage straight into Q2. They came close, but nobody could quite match the pace of the man who has never lost a MotoGP race on American soil.

Bradley Smith was the man who got closest, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider bagging 2nd spot just three hundredths of a second behind Marquez. The gap behind Smith was much larger, Andrea Iannone taking 3rd nearly three tenths behind Smith and a third of a second behind Marquez. Dani Pedrosa had decent race pace during the first part of FP3, and pushed on to grab 4th spot once the final dash for Q2 started.

Pedrosa finished ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, the Movistar Yamaha rider ending up in 5th, just over four tenths behind Marc Marquez. But Lorenzo chose to focus on race pace, never bothering to push for a quick lap. Lorenzo used the second half of FP3 to do a long run of 14 laps, most of which were in the low 1'33s. Cal Crutchlow finished in 6th, just a few hundredths behind Lorenzo.

Behind Crutchlow, the two Espargaro brothers vied for position, Aleix taking 7th ahead of Pol in 8th. The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider had a rough final few moments, however, crashing out with a couple of minutes to go, when his rear tire let go and then bit in Turn 2. Valentino Rossi made it through relatively comfortably to Q2, using the medium tire to propel himself up the order, but then sliding down to 9th as the session wound down. Maverick Viñales rounded out the top 10, one of the first riders to put in a very quick lap and then holding on to finish 10th. 

The charge in the final few minutes proved costly for some of the factory riders. Andrea Dovizioso could not improve his time from Friday, and finished in 12th and forced to go through Q1, while Scott Redding could not find the extra couple of tenths which would have secured his slot in Q2, ending the session in 13th.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'32.392    
2 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha 1'32.421 0.029 0.029
3 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1'32.718 0.326 0.297
4 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1'32.759 0.367 0.041
5 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1'32.819 0.427 0.060
6 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'32.851 0.459 0.032
7 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1'32.914 0.522 0.063
8 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 1'32.945 0.553 0.031
9 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'32.981 0.589 0.036
10 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki 1'32.998 0.606 0.017
To Q1:
11 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati 1'33.290 0.898 0.292
12 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'33.293 0.901 0.003
13 45 Scott Redding Honda 1'33.300 0.908 0.007
14 8 Hector Barbera Ducati 1'33.503 1.111 0.203
15 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'33.570 1.178 0.067
16 43 Jack Miller Honda 1'34.021 1.629 0.451
17 50 Eugene Laverty Honda 1'34.036 1.644 0.015
18 69 Nicky Hayden Honda 1'34.053 1.661 0.017
19 63 Mike Di Meglio Ducati 1'34.332 1.940 0.279
20 19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1'34.348 1.956 0.016
21 6 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 1'34.608 2.216 0.260
22 15 Alex De Angelis ART 1'35.188 2.796 0.580
23 24 Toni Elias Honda 1'36.412 4.020 1.224


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... Rossi's side of the garage has figured out a few improvements, but Marquez is in another league here at Indy. Despite Smith's incredible lap, I think it's looking like Jorge and Val will battle for 2nd while Marc runs and hides. I hope I'm wrong though, it'd be great to see Yamaha stick it to Honda here.

Here's what I see:
Marquez - 32-mid / 32-high!!!
Lorenzo - 32-high / 33-low
Pedrosa - 33-low
Rossi - 33-mid / 33-high
Smith / Iannone- 33-high / 34-low

It looks at this stage like Marquez for the win, with Lorenzo a fair second but not really in close contact and possibly racing with Pedrosa, while Rossi will hit a lonely fourth after getting caught in traffic and probably racing with Smith / Iannone for a while. Unless Rossi finds something in FP4 / WUP, which is not unheard of...he seems to be struggling the most in sector 2, and is competitive elsewhere.

Marquez has really intimidating pace at this point, though - wow. I think he did SEVEN laps better than Lorenzo's best, and had another few that were within a few hundredths. He's got the bit between his teeth this weekend. All bets off if Rossi finds something, though - he seems to bring out the red mist in Marquez for sure.

The biggest surprise of the session was that Maverick Vinales' Suzuki recorded a higher top speed (343.8 kph) than Marc Marquez' Honda (343.0 kph).

If this keeps up, Suzuki could start interfering in Podium proceedings by the end of season, which is excellent news for the sport.