Ducati’s bad boy Andrea Iannone topped the MotoGP warm-up times ahead of the GP of the Americas, as Jorge Lorenzo crashed out at Turn 3 late on.
Iannone – who was in the Ducati doghouse after taking out his teammate Andrea Dovizioso at the last corner in Argentina – lapped in 2m04.421s, to beat Honda’s Marc Marquez by 0.206s.
This is only the fourth time Marquez has ever been denied of setting the top time in a session at COTA.
But the big news was Lorenzo’s high-speed tumble at Turn 3. His Yamaha's front-end simply folded underneath him, firing him off the track and into the gravel trap.
Story of the session
This session took on more significance than usual, as tyre choice for the race is being viewed as critical to chances of success – and could be varied among the frontrunners.
Looking for his fourth win in four years at COTA, Marquez went to the top of the times after 12 minutes on 2m05.085s, having previously languished down in eighth early on.
The session developed into a personal duel between Marquez and Iannone, as the Italian grabbed top spot with 2m04.954s before the Spaniard responded with 2m04.786s with five minutes to go.
Iannone settled the matter with 2m04.421s, with Marquez unable to beat him.
Marquez was using the soft front tyre, as opposed to the Yamahas of fellow front row starters Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi both using medium fronts.
All three look certain to start on the medium rear tyre.
Lorenzo crashes heavily
Lorenzo went down with two minutes of the session remaining, dropping the front end at the first of the left-hand sweepers as the Esses. He somersaulted into the gravel, apparently without injury, with his bike taking a high-speed pounding.
That ended his session with him down in seventh, 1.1s off Iannone’s pace.
Rossi ended the session third quickest, 0.330s off the pace. Maverick Vinales was fourth fastest, and intriguingly was using the soft rear Michelin that many frontrunners can’t race due to the high wear they suffered on Friday.
Honda’s Dani Pedrosa might also use the soft rear, but he continues to struggle badly regardless and was only 13th fastest, 1.4s off the pace.
The only other drama during the session befell Scott Redding, who suffered a problem with his Pramac Ducati at Turn 13. He looked down at his bike as an alarm went off on his dashboard, and cruised back to the pits.
|1||Andrea Iannone||Ducati Desmosedici GP16||2:04.421|
|2||Marc Marquez||Honda RC213V||2:04.627|
|3||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha YZR-M1||2:04.751|
|4||Maverick Viñales||Suzuki GSX-RR||2:05.251|
|5||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Desmosedici GP16||2:05.283|
|6||Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki GSX-RR||2:05.507|
|7||Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha YZR-M1||2:05.554|
|8||Cal Crutchlow||Honda RC213V||2:05.660|
|9||Bradley Smith||Yamaha YZR-M1||2:05.700|
|10||Yonny Hernandez||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||2:05.823|
|11||Scott Redding||Ducati Desmosedici GP15||2:05.859|
|12||Loris Baz||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||2:05.878|
|13||Dani Pedrosa||Honda RC213V||2:05.890|
|14||Stefan Bradl||Aprilia RS-GP||2:05.894|
|15||Hector Barbera||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||2:06.061|
|16||Pol Espargaro||Yamaha YZR-M1||2:06.071|
|17||Michele Pirro||Ducati Desmosedici GP15||2:06.246|
|18||Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia RS-GP||2:06.418|
|19||Eugene Laverty||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||2:07.240|
|20||Tito Rabat||Honda RC213V||2:07.273|