Maverick Vinales will lead the MotoGP field into Qualifying 2 after retaining top spot in final practice on Friday night. The Spaniard’s FP1 time remained unbeaten with most improvements coming from further down the order, resulting in opening weekend disappointment for Jorge Lorenzo who will have to go through Q1 on his Ducati debut.
Conditions didn’t appear to be conducive to fast lap times early in FP3 with Jonas Folger, one of the stars of the weekend so far, sliding off at turn four. Pramac Ducati had also enjoyed a promising weekend but their fortunes took a nose dive with Danilo Petrucci tumbling at turn ten while FP2 pacesetter Scott Redding was forced to pit when his fairing came loose on the main straight.
The overall top ten remained unchanged until the final five minutes when Cal Crutchlow climbed from twelfth to eighth, knocking Lorenzo out of Q2, although the three-time MotoGP champion responded with a 1:55.461 to regain the final top ten spot. It proved to be a short reprieve though as Andrea Iannone, the man cast aside by Ducati in favour of Lorenzo, leapt all the way up to second on the Suzuki with a sensational late flyer, confirming Jorge’s participation in Q1.
Marc Marquez was third quickest by virtue of his FP1 time while Johann Zarco and Andrea Dovizioso took fourth and fifth respectively at the death, demoting Redding to sixth when the Pramac rider crashed. Folger’s crash saw him slip behind Dani Pedrosa to eighth while Crutchlow held onto ninth despite a fall of his own at turn two.
The last automatic Q2 spot went to Valentino Rossi although the Italian’s FP3 display did little to dispel fears over his lack of pace.
2017 Grand Prix of Qatar: Combined Practice Classification
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