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Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up) looked in ominous form heading into qualifying at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan as he set a 1:51.293 to go 0.199 quicker than second place Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) in FP3, with Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) an impressive third after his big FP1 crash.
The intermediate class got their first fully dry session of the weekend done and dusted on Saturday morning and it was the Frenchman who laid down the gauntlet to head Schrötter and Marquez. Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) sits fourth on the timesheets, 0.328 behind the Speed Up chassis of Quartararo, with title rival Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) just 0.077 behind the Italian in P5.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) is a further 0.016 back in sixth, the Italian setting his fastest lap on his final flying run, with Friday’s quickest Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) sitting seventh ahead of qualifying. Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40) slips down to P8 on the timesheets after finishing P3 on Friday, with home rider Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) continuing his good pace in Motegi to finish Free Practice in P9. After a crash yesterday, Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) recovered well to finish P10 on the combined timesheets.
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team), teammate Andrea Locatelli and Bo Bendsneyder (Tech 3 Racing) all crashed – riders ok.
Can anyone challenge Quartararo for pole? Find out when the Moto2™ class do battle in qualifying at 15:05 local time (GMT +9).
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