Marc Marquez remains a step ahead of his MotoGP rivals after comfortably topping the second free practice session at Losail but the battle to secure an automatic spot in Q2 looks set to reach a thrilling climax in FP3 later this evening. Marquez led his teammate Dani Pedrosa by half a second but the same margin covered thirteen riders from Jorge Lorenzo in sixth to Stefan Bradl in eighteenth with all eyeing a spot in Qualifying 2 on Saturday.
Marquez had already established himself as the rider to beat in first practice yesterday but the reigning champion stretched further clear with a 1:54.828, quicker than the existing circuit record. Pedrosa slotted in behind his teammate in second with a 1:55.275, fractionally faster than Andrea Dovizioso’s Ducati, but as the leading contenders switched focus to race preparation, those further down looked to enhance their qualifying prospects.
Bradley Smith was among those with work to do having finished FP1 down in thirteenth but the Briton lifted himself to sixth ten minutes from time. Valentino Rossi had been demoted to the bottom of the top ten but soon rebounded up to fifth before Cal Crutchlow produced a personal best on the LCR Honda to snatch fourth late on.
Once the dust had settled, Crutchlow held onto fourth with Andrea Iannone using a soft tyre to finish fifth, knocking the Movistar Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi down to sixth and seventh respectively. Mike Di Meglio used a slipstream offered by Pol Espargaro’s Tech 3 Yamaha to steal eighth from Smith while Hector Barbera rounded out the top ten on the second Avintia Ducati.
Aleix Espargaro’s pace was one of the stories of FP1 but the Suzuki rider was unable to improve after his GSX-RR broke down late in the session. The returning manufacturers both had scrappy sessions with Marco Melandri destroying his Aprilia with a crash at turn two.
2015 Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar: Free Practice 2 Classification
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