Marc Marquez maintained a narrow advantage at the front of the MotoGP field in FP3 but a frenetic conclusion to final practice saw several big names miss out on an automatic Q2 place. British duo Scott Redding and Bradley Smith both missed out on a top ten spot, setting the scene for a gripping Q1 session tomorrow, but Cal Crutchlow made it safely through in second having lapped within a tenth of pacesetter Marquez.
Smith entered the final session in a precarious tenth position but he held onto the final Q2 place until five minutes from time when the open class runners unleashed their machines on softer tyres. Stefan Bradl was the first to make inroads, jumping to ninth, while Yonny Hernandez showed Ducati’s GP14 was just as competitive as its successor with a 1:55.102, lifting him to fourth.
Both Tech3 Yamahas were now in peril but Pol Espargaro clawed his way to safety with a 1:55.328, handing him the last automatic spot in Q2. Marquez was comfortably clear of the danger zone having improved his own time to a 1:54.822 while Crutchlow, Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaro joined him in the 1:54s.
Dani Pedrosa fell to fifth ahead of the Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Yonny Hernandez while Yamaha cut it fine to get their riders into Q2, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi finishing combined practice in eighth and ninth, marginally quicker than the younger Espargaro brother.
Scott Redding continued to make progress on the Marc VDS Honda but missed the cut by 0.119s while Smith was four tenths adrift, paying the price for setting his quickest time in the second practice session earlier this evening.
2015 Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar: Combined Practice Classification
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