Jerez MotoGP: Rossi denies Marquez by 0.046s in third practice

A last-minute flyer by MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi put the Yamaha rider in charge of the timesheets in third practice for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix - 0.046s clear of home favourite Marc Marquez.

Jerez MotoGP: Rossi denies Marquez by 0.046s in third practice

Reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo's Friday benchmark of 1m39.555s stood for nearly the entire session, with the times only really tumbling in the final five minutes.

Marquez was first to dip beneath Lorenzo's FP2 time as he set a 1m39.421s, with Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro - who described his Friday pace as "disgusting" - following closely in his wheeltracks to nab second, just 0.014s off the pace.

Lorenzo improved to a 1m39.490s shortly after to consolidate third place, but was demoted by Yamaha teammate Rossi, who set a time only 0.039s adrift of Marquez.

There was more to come from the Italian, however, as he blitzed the timesheets on his next lap just before the chequered flag fell to knock Marquez off the top spot with a best time of 1m39.244s.

It was the first time Rossi has topped a MotoGP session since last year's warm-up at Silverstone, and the first dry session since qualifying at Assen in 2015.

Marquez was forced to be content with second in front of his home crowd - 0.046s back - with Espargaro holding onto third ahead of Lorenzo, who was 0.246s behind his teammate in the final reckoning.

Dani Pedrosa took a solid fifth on the second of the Repsol Hondas, 0.325s off the pace, ahead of Maverick Vinales on the best of the Suzukis and top Ducati man Andrea Dovizioso.

Completing the top 10 and sealing their automatic Q2 spots were Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki), Andrea Iannone (Ducati) and Friday star Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati).

Alvaro Bautista only narrowly missed out on a Q2 berth with an impressive 11th aboard the Aprilia.

Along with the Spaniard, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Scott Redding (Pramac Ducati), who was a lowly 16th, will be forced to battle their way through the first part of qualifying.

Practice results:

PosRiderTeamBikeTimeGap
1 ItalyValentino Rossi  Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha YZR-M1 1:39.244  
2 SpainMarc Marquez  Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V 1:39.290 +0.046
3 SpainPol Espargaro  Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 1:39.435 +0.191
4 SpainJorge Lorenzo  Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha YZR-M1 1:39.490 +0.246
5 SpainDani Pedrosa  Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V 1:39.579 +0.335
6 SpainMaverick Viñales  Team Suzuki ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-RR 1:39.742 +0.498
7 ItalyAndrea Dovizioso  Ducati Team Ducati Desmosedici GP16 1:39.801 +0.557
8 SpainAleix Espargaro  Team Suzuki ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-RR 1:39.812 +0.568
9 ItalyAndrea Iannone  Ducati Team Ducati Desmosedici GP16 1:39.819 +0.575
10 SpainHector Barbera  Avintia Racing Ducati Desmosedici GP14 1:39.828 +0.584
11 SpainAlvaro Bautista  Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia RS-GP 1:39.935 +0.691
12 ColombiaYonny Hernandez  Aspar Racing Team Ducati Desmosedici GP14 1:39.983 +0.739
13 United KingdomCal Crutchlow  Team LCR Honda RC213V 1:40.261 +1.017
14 United KingdomBradley Smith  Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 1:40.289 +1.045
15 IrelandEugene Laverty  Aspar Racing Team Ducati Desmosedici GP14 1:40.363 +1.119
16 United KingdomScott Redding  Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati Desmosedici GP15 1:40.424 +1.180
17 FranceLoris Baz  Avintia Racing Ducati Desmosedici GP14 1:40.597 +1.353
18 ItalyMichele Pirro  Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati Desmosedici GP15 1:40.916 +1.672
19 GermanyStefan Bradl  Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia RS-GP 1:41.055 +1.811
20 SpainTito Rabat  Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V 1:41.442 +2.198
21 AustraliaJack Miller  Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V 1:41.530 +2.286
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