MotoGP rookie takes fastest time ahead of Lorenzo and Crutchlow
Marc Marquez leaped to the top of the timing sheets today at the Losail International Circuit in preparation of the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar with the Repsol Honda rider topping both sessions and grabbing the fastest time of all three practice sessions right at the end death with Reigning MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo securing second position with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow continuing to impress with the British rider finishing with third position.
Practice today went pretty well - better than expected.
With new regulations this year regarding qualifying, the practice sessions have a direct impact with the top ten riders in combined times being put forward directly into the final qualifying session on Saturday evening with places 13 and down are determined by the times from the first qualifying session, however two extra spots will be made for the final qualifying showdown being made up of the quickest two riders in Q1.
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing) continued to push at the front of the field and finished in 4th setting a best time of 1m 56.416s and only just ahead of Ducati Racing’s Andrea Dovizioso who stormed into 5th with a best lap of 1m 56.417s. Dani Pedrosa continued to look somewhat off the boil but secured himself an automatic entry into the final qualifying session with a best lap of 1m 56.502s
Pramac Racing will have two riders ready to battle it out in Q1 tomorrow with Andrea Iannone ending with an 11th fastest combined time of 1m 57.169s to that of his teammate Ben Spies who finished in 12th (1m 57.308s). The best CRT machine was that of Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics Aspar) who ended with the 13th best time of 1m 57.420s with Hector Barbera next along (1m 57.956s), Yonny Hernandez ended up in 15th place for the Paul Bird Motorsport team on a best lap of 1m 58.211s while Randy de Puniet seemed to encounter some problems on his Power Electronics Aspar machine and had to settle for 16th place on a best time of 1m 58.396s.
Finishing in 17th place for the NGM Forward Racing team was Colin Edwards who set a best lap of 1m 58.863s ahead of Cardion AB Motorsport’s Karel Abraham with a best time of 1m 59.180s while in 19th place was Hiroshi Aoyama for the Avintia Blusens team (1m 59.212s). Danilo Petrucci finished in 20th place with a best lap of 1m 59.755s ahead of Go&Fun Honda Gresini’s Bryan Staring with a best time of 1m 59.758s with Lucas Pesek ending up in 22nd place for the Came IodaRacing Project setting a best lap of 1m 59.837s while Michael Laverty finished in 23rd for the Paul Bird Motorsport team with a best lap of 2m 0.080s and Claudio Corti (NGM Forward Racing) ended up in 24th place with his best lap of 2m 0.439s.
Marquez was happy with his performance but remains focused on strengthening his race pace. He said, “Practice today went pretty well - better than expected. I was very comfortable on the bike, and this is the important thing. Our foundation isn't bad at all, we are improving in every session and working with Sunday's race in mind. What we are missing is a bit of pace and consistency. We will have to make the most of the 30 minutes that we have before qualifying tomorrow to improve those points.”
Crutchlow was happy to make the top three and is confident in his prospects in Sunday’s race, “The track was not in a good condition again tonight and it was very dirty but I am still happy with my performance and it is good to remain inside the top three,” Crutchlow said while adding, “I was confident I'd be in the top 10 to move straight into QP2 and I am looking forward to the 15-minute session to decide places on the grid tomorrow night. I think it will be exciting for the fans and also for us because nobody will be hanging around. I felt comfortable on the bike again in the second session because we made a couple of changes earlier that didn't really work. I still need to improve in the braking zone and I'd like to improve the rear grip too, but I have been fast in every session so far and that bodes well for the race on Sunday night.”