Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) remains the man to beat heading into qualifying at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon as he ends Free Practice at the top of the timesheets, but it was a different story for Yamaha as all four riders will have to take part in Q1 for the first time since the 2017 Catalan GP.
Marquez’ 1:47.382 in FP2 is still the fastest time this weekend, but only just. Fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) – despite a crash at Turn 2 – topped the FP3 session with a time of 1:47.393, 0.011 behind. Third place overall was Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) as he leads the Ducati charge into qualifying, improving his best Friday time by over a second to finish P3 on the combined times. Miller’s time was a slender 0.030 back from Marquez, so is a second consecutive front-row start on the cards for the Australian?
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) finished FP3 down in tenth but the Spaniard sits fourth on the combined timesheets thanks to his FP2 time, the only other rider in the top 17 to not go quicker on Saturday morning. Fifth is his teammate Andrea Dovizioso, just 0.193 behind Marquez, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) consolidating an automatic Q2 place in sixth – fourth for the Italian in FP3.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) left it late to grab himself a top ten place in seventh, with Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing), Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completing the automatic Q2 positions in Aragon.
In stark contrast, it’s been a disappointing morning for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi. The Spaniard held P10 on the combined times until Pedrosa posted his late time to push him out, while teammate Rossi crashed on his final flying lap at Turn 2, ending any hope of ‘The Doctor’ forcing his way into the top ten – P18 for the Italian. In addition, both Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders also failed to get into the all-important top ten, with Johann Zarco ending P14 and Hafizh Syahrin finishing P21. Can the Iwata factory bounce back in the afternoon?
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crashed during the session at Turn 15, landing heavily on his recently-fractured left collarbone. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, it was confirmed after a trip to the medical centre that he had reaggravated the injury, meaning he will miss the rest of the weekend – desperately unlucky for Espargaro, who will head back to Barcelona for an operation. Jordi Torres (Reale Avintia Racing) also crashed – rider ok.
Just over half a second splits the top ten as qualifying in Aragon now looms, with an incredibly intriguing Q1 session beginning at 14:10 local time (GMT +2) before the battle for pole position commences at 14:35.