Ducati’s Andrea Iannone leads the fight for pole position in Qatar this weekend as he ends FP3 on top, 0.137s ahead of Jorge Lorenzo as 0.819s cover the top 12 under the floodlights.
Iannone finished the opening session on top with a lap time of 1.55.388, as the GP riders were the first bikes out on track on Friday in cooler conditions of 20 degrees. In a reverse situation to opening practise the Repsol Honda riders were sitting up at the top of the timing screens, and Marc Marquez shaved over half a second off of his time in FP1.
Octo Yakhnich Ducati’s Scott Redding continued to impress on his first season with the Italian factory , finishing FP2 in second behind Marquez. Maverick Vinales took fourth position ahead of factory Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso with a time of 1.55.721.
Now pivotal to their qualifying charge, the first free practise three of the season saw an incredible surge of lap times towards the end of the 45 minute session.
Iannone was the early pace setter of the session, but Dani Pedrosa took the top spot off the Italian with half an hour of the session to go, setting a lap time of 1.55.357.
Action heated up with 15 minutes to go and Bradley Smith moved up into the top ten aboard his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, before Vinales set an impressive time to put him in fourth position. Despite having a stronger pace, Smith suffered his second crash of the weekend, losing the front end of his M1 going into turn six.
Italian domination continued as Dovizioso went fastest with nine minutes left on the clock, but this wasn’t a guaranteed spot as Lorenzo shot up into first by 0.2s just a couple of minutes later. Continuing with his flying form from Thursday the reigning champion took half a second off his won time to keep him fastest.
It seemed as if Lorenzo was unable to beat with the Repsol Honda team-mates pushing to get the fastest time whilst Hector Barbera shot into the top ten.
In the closing minutes of FP3 Iannone moved back up into first with a time of 1.54.639. Despite pushing on every lap and getting red sectors at the start of his laps, Marquez was unable to knock Iannone off the top spot.
Pol Espargaro took the final spot in Q2 aboard his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine ahead of his brother Aleix. Both Jack Miller and Scott Redding crashed in closing seconds of the session, but were able to walk away unharmed.
1. Andrea Iannone ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP16) 1m 54.639s [Lap 17/18] 350km/h (Top Speed)
2. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 54.776s +0.137s [14/18] 336km/h
3. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 54.835s +0.196s [16/17] 337km/h
4. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP16) 1m 54.945s +0.306s [16/16] 349km/h
5. Maverick Viñales ESP Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 1m 54.976s +0.337s [16/17] 337km/h
6. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 55.113s +0.474s [15/18] 339km/h
7. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 55.175s +0.536s [17/17] 339km/h
8. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 1m 55.323s +0.684s [14/15] 344km/h
9. Scott Redding GBR Octo Pramac Yakhnich (Desmosedici GP15) 1m 55.399s +0.760s [14/14] 342km/h
10. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 55.476s +0.837s [18/19] 338km/h
11. Aleix Espargaro ESP Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 1m 55.491s +0.852s [15/15] 333km/h
12. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 55.505s +0.866s [19/20] 340km/h
13. Loris Baz FRA Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 1m 55.773s +1.134s [16/18] 336km/h
14. Danilo Petrucci ITA Octo Pramac Yakhnich (Desmosedici GP15) 1m 55.931s +1.292s [12/14] 340km/h
15. Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 1m 55.946s +1.307s [14/16] 337km/h
16. Yonny Hernandez COL Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP14.2) 1m 56.100s +1.461s [9/17] 340km/h
17. Jack Miller AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V) 1m 56.207s +1.568s [4/13] 337km/h
18. Tito Rabat ESP Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)* 1m 56.625s +1.986s [18/18] 336km/h
19. Alvaro Bautista ESP Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 1m 56.749s +2.110s [17/18] 336km/h
20. Stefan Bradl GER Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 1m 57.069s +2.430s [17/17] 331km/h
21. Eugene Laverty IRL Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP14.2) 1m 57.135s +2.496s [9/15] 340km/h