Marc Marquez continues to show his pure control of a MotoGP machine as he stormed to the top of the combined practice timesheets in the final practice this morning, despite significantly lower temperatures
|He’s on top again…
Photo: Repsol Honda
meaning most riders did not see their pace improve.
It was only 9 degrees as they headed out for the final timed session, although that didn’t stop all riders wanting to get out early on soft slick tyres, only two riders improved their Friday times – the Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow. Lorenzo, whose time put him at the top of the session whilst moving him ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi on the combined sheets.
Rain had been largely expected for this morning’s sessions leading to fears that times from yesterday would determine who goes where in terms of qualifying sessions. Bradley Smith who has been struggling getting to grips with Le Mans on a MotoGP bike – running on at several points yesterday continued this in the first half of the session, running on at garage vert and then took a trip through the gravel at the Dunlop chicane. With around 10 minutes to go the Brit came in to the pits for a fresh rear slick to try and claw back the 3 tenths he was behind top CRT Aleix Espargaro who held that last Q1 spot in 10th. The Oxfordshire rider put in two fast laps to ensure his place in the Q1 session, only the second time this season the Brit has got into the session without fighting for it in Q2.
More and combined times below:
On the second of his two flyers, Smith put his Tech 3 Yamaha ahead of GO&FUN Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista, who crashed with around 7 minutes to go. Despite attempts by Andrea Iannone to displace the Spaniard from the top ten, he managed to remain secure despite not heading out with enough time on the clock to try and consolidate his position. There were a few tumbles in the closing stages as riders upped their game to be on the best form possible ahead of qualifying, Yonny Hernandez went down just before Bautista and Hector Barbera, who has had a little bit of trouble with the law this week, fell from his FTR with a couple of minutes left.
Despite Lorenzo sitting on top of the timesheets for the entire session with Pedrosa looking safe in the top spot in combined timing, it was with 3 minutes to go that Marc Marquez decided to lay down his challenge. An initial attempt was thwarted by the slower CRT of Michael Laverty getting in the way in the final sector however immediately afterwards Marquez took his RC213V to the top of both the session and combined times but that wasn’t quite enough for the Spaniard, who put in his third consecutive fast lap to go half a second faster than Jorge Lorenzo, 0.435 faster than Pedrosa’s fastest time of the weekend.
Pedrosa, Rossi and Bradl did not improve their Friday times, however an impressive performance from Nicky Hayden saw him jump into 6th place in the combined times ahead of Cal Crutchlow.
Combined practice times here.