2016 Qatar MotoGP FP3 Result: Iannone Heads Thrilling Session

Andrea Iannone was the fastest man of the day on Friday in the MotoGP class, the factory Ducati rider putting in a scorching lap at the end of the session to take top spot. But Iannone had been quick throughout the session, stuck close behind both Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez when the two Spaniards were fastest, and finding a bit extra to ensure he went into qualifying as favorite.

Jorge Lorenzo ended the session as second quickest, after posting a time that looked certain to be good enough to take top spot with a few minutes to go. But the Movistar Yamaha man found himself bested by Iannone in the hectic final rush of the session, as the riders hustled to set a quick time ensuring passage to Q2. Lorenzo did get the better of Marc Marquez, the Honda rider having found an improvement since yesterday, but coming up just short of Lorenzo.

Andrea Dovizioso ended the session in fourth,  three tenths off his factory Ducati teammate, and a fraction ahead of the Suzuki of Maverick Viñales. Dani Pedrosa took sixth spot, just under half a second off the pace of Iannone, and less than a tenth quicker than Valentino Rossi, the Movistar Yamaha rider slipping down the order on the second day. Hector Barbera and Scott Redding put two more Ducatis in the top ten, ending just ahead of Pol Espargaro on the Tech 3 Yamaha. Espargaro's teammate Bradley Smith had a sizable smash towards the end of the session, which prevented him from progressing. Jack Miller also had a big crash, though he too walked away unhurt.

While there is a good mix of manufacturers in the top ten, with four different bikes in the top five, the top speed rankings are dominated by Ducati. Andrea Iannone tops the speed charts with a maximum of 350.3 km/h, followed by seven of the eight Ducatis on the grid. The only Ducati not at the top is Loris Baz, whose size works against him a little. The fastest non-Ducati rider is Bradley Smith, who is 10.9 km/h slower than Iannone. How much top speed matters is open to question: Iannone is fastest with 350.3 km/h, Jorge Lorenzo is nineteenth fastest, with 335.6 km/h, some 14.7 km/h slower. But the difference in lap time is just 0.137 seconds, and Lorenzo is ahead of all of the other Ducatis.

Free practice is now over for the MotoGP class, and the field now move on to qualifying on Saturday. The top ten automatically go through to Q2, while the remaining eleven riders have to fight their way through Q1, the two fastest in the session qualifying for Q2.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1'54.639    
2 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1'54.776 0.137 0.137
3 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'54.835 0.196 0.059
4 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'54.945 0.306 0.110
5 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki 1'54.976 0.337 0.031
6 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1'55.113 0.474 0.137
7 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'55.175 0.536 0.062
8 8 Hector Barbera Ducati 1'55.323 0.684 0.148
9 45 Scott Redding Ducati 1'55.399 0.760 0.076
10 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 1'55.476 0.837 0.077
To Q1
11 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1'55.491 0.852 0.015
12 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha 1'55.505 0.866 0.014
13 76 Loris Baz Ducati 1'55.773 1.134 0.268
14 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'55.931 1.292 0.158
15 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'55.946 1.307 0.015
16 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati 1'56.100 1.461 0.154
17 43 Jack Miller Honda 1'56.207 1.568 0.107
18 53 Tito Rabat Honda 1'56.625 1.986 0.418
19 19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1'56.749 2.110 0.124
20 6 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 1'57.069 2.430 0.320
21 50 Eugene Laverty Ducati 1'57.135 2.496 0.066

 

Round Number: 
1
2016
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Comments

I have the theory that the sticker at Vale´s visor is placed exactly so to hide where exactly he looks and so to hide his optical reference points.
Any thoughts on this?
Could anybody ask somebody who could answer this?

Ducati top speed in Qatar circa FP3.
In terms of race pace and lap times its no big deal as it was back then.
Desmo works where it works.
Have Ducati sorted the seamless 5th/6th change issue with the gearbox yet?
Have they got Dovi's front end, late braking planted on the Michelin front, lap after lap?
Many questions to be answered.
I have a particular weakness for rooting for the much maligned 'underdog'.
Hector Barbera had been great during last season, the off season and the current test season, heading into round 1 2016.
The bloke is certainly reveling in that GP14.2 and I wish him all the best and much support from the factory.

David, do you know if any of the rule changes offer the riders who graduate from Q1 to Q2 get some fresh rubber? I remember this being an issue for them all last season.

This is not currently in the rules. The riders asked for it, but that idea has been dropped for the moment. I suspect that Dorna and Michelin first want to see how things work out in the first season. The Michelins are very different to the Bridgestones, and it may not be as necessary. 

Iannone's top speed is a hair shy of 218mph. Good stuff. We have seen faster from HRC a while back. And the top speed is actually higher than that because the distance over which it is measured is long...within that it is changing and actually peaks above that.

The gap in speed behind them is significant. So is the lack thereof of Suzuki who is ON PAR with Honda and Yamaha. Great job Suzuki! Now get the fully seamless ironed out, and get more electronics sorted. Vinales is ready. And if you don't this year before silly season blossoms he will end up on a Duc or Yamaha where he can win. Keep the pressing motivation!

FP Win: Iannone, Dovi, Factory Honda
FP loss: Crutchlow, Laverty, Marc VDS team

Qualifying? Here comes Factory Yamaha...