Aleix Espargaro’s dominance over free practice continued in Qatar into the third session as he was once again fastest, further improve his time ahead of Andrea Iannone and Alvaro Bautista.
Espargaro was quickest yesterday and earlier today, and was the fastest rider for a third time in as many sessions. Aleix posted a 1’54.773 on his ‘Open’ Forward Yamaha, which appears to have worked around the rules perfectly.
Iannone jumped from tenth to second, but was still 0.413 seconds behind the time of Espargaro. Alvaro Bautista was third fastest and the fastest prototype rider, although he was still 0.467s behind the Forward Yamaha.
It was another ‘Open’ bike in fourth in the shape of Andrea Dovizioso on his Ducati GP14, and he was cloesly followed by the wounded World Champion Marc Marquez, neither of whom were at the test last week.
Bradley Smith was sixth fastest, although it was an eventful session for the Brit. Smith suffered a monster highside on the exit of turn five half was through the session. Smith hobbled back to his garage before getting onto his second bike and posting a respectible time in sixth, although it will be a long evening for his crew repairing the bike.
Jorge Lorenzo was seventh, although for large portions of the session it looked as if the two time MotoGP World Champion was destined for Q1 participation, that was until he managed to string together a lap, although all is still not well in the Yamaha garage.
Nor is it all well for Dani Pedrosa on his Repsol Honda, who ended the day in eighth position, not improving from his FP2 time in the second session. Stefan Bradl was ninth on his LCR Honda and Valentino Rossi managed to squeeze into tenth position and go straight though to Q2.
Pol Espargaro missed out, and will have to take part in Q1 in his first Grand Prix as he ended the free practice sessions in eleventh position, and he was just ahead of Cal Crutchlow who suffered a crash of his own, loosing the front end of his GP14 at turn 10. Crutchlow will be hoping the softer tyre available to the ‘Open’ bikes will help him shoot up the timing screens tomorrow.