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Pedrosa tops FP3 but Lorenzo quickest overall

Pedrosa tops FP3 but Lorenzo quickest overall

Jorge Lorenzo finished atop the combined timesheets as the Qualifying running order was decided in third free practice for the Tissot Australian Grand Prix. The Yamaha Factory Racing rider remained ahead with his lap time of Friday, despite Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa topping the Saturday morning session.

It was another glorious morning for weather in the south of Australia, at the start of the weekend on which Marc Marquez could become the youngest ever MotoGP™ World Champion. During the last session which plays a role in deciding which ten riders will head directly to Q2 qualifying, the field was chiefly experimenting with the harder tyres, having been told by Bridgestone on Friday that - due to the higher levels of degradation on the newly-resurfaced track - these must be used for the race distance on Sunday afternoon.

Lorenzo’s Friday lap remains the fastest so far at Phillip Island, delivered in the form of 1’28.961. The rest of the top six improved on Saturday, with Pedrosa topping third practice with 1’29.074 despite having posted that effort on the slower, harder rubber. His Repsol Honda Team colleague and championship leader Marquez was third, escaping an incident at the MG hairpin, while Valentino Rossi ensured that Yamaha bikes sandwiched Hondas in the top four. Alvaro Bautista was fifth for GO&FUN Honda Gresini, although his lap had come on the quicker softer tyres, while Bradley Smith moved ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammate Cal Crutchlow for sixth place. Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden was eighth.

An impressive effort from NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards saw the American lead the CRT charge from ninth place, ahead of Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet who was the tenth and the final rider to seal an automatic slot in Q2. His teammate Aleix Espargaro, the usual CRT pace-setter so far this year, will therefore attempt to pass into the shootout from Q1, having ended the opening trio of practices 11th from Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso. Also this morning, there was an early fall for PBM’s Michael Laverty, while Ignite Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez repeated Marquez’s error by lowsiding at MG.

After Free Practice 4, which has no bearing on the Qualifying running order, Q1 will be underway from 3:10pm local time (GMT +11). It will not include LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who attempted to ride in Friday’s opening practice but was then declared unfit after fracturing his right ankle at Sepang one week ago. The German hopes to return in Japan next weekend.


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