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Iannone steals top spot in Free Practice 3

Iannone steals top spot in Free Practice 3

Thanks to a tow from Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone secured the fastest time of the weekend ahead of Lorenzo and Pol Espargaro as times dropped.

Free Practice 3 presented riders in the MotoGP™ World Championship their last chance to get inside the top ten and gain direct access to Q2, ensuring at least 12th on the grid. As the session commenced Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and local rider Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) were on the cusp of the important top ten.

Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) saw some of the biggest improvements during the first half of the session, cutting eighth tenths off his FP2 time. The biggest changes came when riders went out for their final runs, a number joining Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) in the 1’32s.

Fastest on Friday, Lorenzo showed no signs of slowing down as he set a 1’32.533 before the end of the session. Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) continued to make significant progress and was able to tag onto the back of Lorenzo on his final lap, helping the Italian to set a 1’32.528 and top the session.

Lorenzo’s lap was only 0.005s off Iannone’s time, the slipstream helping to make the smallest, but most critical, of differences. The factory Yamaha rider can head into Q2 confident, able to set competitive times on his own.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine of Pol Espargaro made it two Yamahas in the top three as the satellite rider continues to get quicker and quicker in Le Mans. Only 0.134s from Iannone’s time, Espargaro could be on pace for his second front row start in the premier class.

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was fourth with Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in fifth. Both riders were under three tenths from Lorenzo’s best time, the battle for pole position is sure to be fierce as the new Michelin tyres are helping to tighten the field.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) all secured safe passage to Q2 by ending in the top ten.

Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) lost the front of his GSX-RR going into Turn 14, sliding off before pushing his bike back to the pits. He will be forced to go through Q1 with the likes of Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) and the returning Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) as they ended outside the top ten on combined times.

Class rookie Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) fell midway through the session at Turn 3 but was unharmed.

MotoGP™ riders will next be out on track for Free Practice 4 at 13:30 Local Time before the battle for pole commences with Q1 at 14:10 and Q2 at 14:35.

Results and times from the session are available here.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2016, MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, FP3, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone, Pol Espargaro, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, Ducati Team, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, Report

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