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Pedrosa ahead as Marquez escapes crash

Pedrosa ahead as Marquez escapes crash

Dani Pedrosa shot to the top of the timesheets in third practice ahead of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. As ten riders were automatically submitted to Q2 Qualifying, Marc Marquez was demoted to second position but was fortunate to escape injury in a highside accident. Jorge Lorenzo rounded out the top three.

Under new regulations from the start of the 2013 MotoGP™ season, Qualifying is divided into two segments. 12 riders will contest pole position in the new Q2 phase and ten of those are put into the session courtesy of their overall best lap times from across the opening trio of practice sessions. On this occasion in third practice, there were less changes than in Qatar a fortnight ago due to the facts that Circuit of the Americas is both new and a longer track than the Losail International Circuit.

Rookie Marquez had set the pace for the duration of Friday, but a well-timed lap from Repsol Honda Team partner Pedrosa saw the latter move ahead on 2’04.408 – the best lap time of the Texas weekend so far. This left Marquez almost four tenths of a second adrift, but seemingly suffering no major effects from his crash which occurred at Turn 19 and five minutes after the green light went on. He returned to the pits and, within ten minutes, was back out on-track with his second frame.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo cemented third position as the championship leader. Behind, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow was fourth fastest, with teammate Bradley Smith moving up to 12th place but missing tenth position and what would have been a guaranteed Q2 spot. He will now have a second opportunity in Q1, as the fastest two riders in that phase will be put through to the top 12 pole shootout that is Q2. Rounding out the top five this morning was LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who fancies his chances for a maiden career podium finish this weekend.

All improving on their personal best efforts from Friday, the overall top ten from the opening trio of practice sessions will not need to take part in Q1. The second half of this group consists of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, Ducati’s Nicky Hayden and fellow American Ben Spies for Ignite Pramac Racing. Likely contenders to join them in Q2 are the aforementioned Smith, Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone and Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro on a CRT bike. Espargaro’s teammate Randy de Puniet was a further seventh tenths of a second in arrears of Iannone.

Following the fourth free practice session which lasts for half an hour, the opening phase of Austin Qualifying begins at 2:10pm local time (GMT -5).


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