Espargaro Tops FP3 In Qatar As Open Bikes Shine


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
POS RIDER MOTORCYCLE TEAM TIME
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