Aleix Espargaro’s domination of free practice was completed in FP3 as the Forward Racing rider finished fastest once again. With the single lap advantage of the soft tyres, open class riders were first, second and fourth in tonight’s session and look certain to provide headaches for the factory runners in qualifying, as well as a mixed-up grid.
With the combined times setting the field for Qualifying 1 and 2 tomorrow, riders knew that getting inside the top ten was all important and as one of the high-profile riders outside the cut-off point, Cal Crutchlow had it all to do. Unfortunately for the Briton, he got an early indication of Ducati’s long-time problem with front end grip as he lost control at turn ten.
His accident was relatively harmless compared to compatriot Bradley Smith though who suffered an enormous highside exiting turn five. The Tech 3 rider was vaulted into the air, thankfully avoiding being collected by his cartwheeling Yamaha, and escaped unhurt. Not only did he do that, but with six minutes remaining he set the quickest time of the session to go fourth overall.
Not to be outdone, Aleix Espargaro quickly moved back to the top with a 1:54.773 but the biggest surprise came from Andrea Iannone who took his open-class Ducati to the second fastest time. Alvaro Bautista remained the top factory rider in third while Andrea Dovizioso backed up the pace of the open GP14 with fourth place overall.
Marc Marquez improved late on to demote Bradley Smith to sixth while a despondent Jorge Lorenzo salvaged seventh to avoid the ignominy of a place in Q1. Dani Pedrosa failed to improve in FP3 but nevertheless held onto eighth while Stefan Bradl and Valentino Rossi rounded out the top ten, knocking out debutant Pol Espargaro.
The Moto2 champion will therefore need to finish in the top two of tomorrow’s Q1 session to have a theoretical shot at pole position, as will British trio Cal Crutchlow, Scott Redding and Michael Laverty who were twelfth, seventeenth and 22nd respectively.
|2014 COMMERCIAL BANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR – COMBINED TIMES AFTER FP3|
|1||ALEIX ESPARGARO||FORWARD YAMAHA||NGM FORWARD RACING||1:54.773||Q2|
|2||ANDREA IANNONE||DUCATI||PRAMAC RACING||1:55.186||Q2|
|3||ALVARO BAUTISTA||HONDA||GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI||1:55.240||Q2|
|4||ANDREA DOVIZIOSO||DUCATI||DUCATI TEAM||1:55.250||Q2|
|5||MARC MARQUEZ||HONDA||REPSOL HONDA TEAM||1:55.446||Q2|
|6||BRADLEY SMITH||YAMAHA||MONSTER YAMAHA TECH 3||1:55.474||Q2|
|7||JORGE LORENZO||YAMAHA||MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP||1:55.495||Q2|
|8||DANI PEDROSA||HONDA||REPSOL HONDA TEAM||1:55.562||Q2|
|9||STEFAN BRADL||HONDA||LCR HONDA MOTOGP||1:55.676||Q2|
|10||VALENTINO ROSSI||YAMAHA||MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP||1:55.702||Q2|
|11||POL ESPARGARO||YAMAHA||MONSTER YAMAHA TECH 3||1:55.793||Q1|
|12||CAL CRUTCHLOW||DUCATI||DUCATI TEAM||1:56.013||Q1|
|13||COLIN EDWARDS||FORWARD YAHAMA||NGM FORWARD RACING||1:56.238||Q1|
|14||NICKY HAYDEN||HONDA||DRIVE M7 ASPAR||1:56.357||Q1|
|15||YONNY HERNANDEZ||DUCATI||ENERGY T.I. PRAMAC RACING||1:56.633||Q1|
|16||HIROSHI AOYAMA||HONDA||DRIVE M7 ASPAR||1:56.939||Q1|
|17||SCOTT REDDING||HONDA||GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI||1:56.997||Q1|
|18||KAREL ABRAHAM||HONDA||CARDION AB MOTORACING||1:57.345||Q1|
|19||BROC PARKES||PBM||PAUL BIRD MOTORSPORT||1:57.665||Q1|
|20||MIKE DI MEGLIO||AVINTIA||AVINTIA RACING||1:58.204||Q1|
|21||HECTOR BARBERA||AVINTIA||AVINTIA RACING||1:58.219||Q1|
|22||MICHAEL LAVERTY||PBM||PAUL BIRD MOTORSPORT||1:58.378||Q1|
|23||DANILO PETRUCCI||ART||IODARACING PROJECT||1:58.651||Q1|