Marquez fastest, Rossi and Lorenzo will contest in Q1

Reigning World Champion leads the way after FP3 despite a crash, with Q1 hosting some big hitters in Qatar…

Despite an early crash in FP3, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) led the way in FP3 and on the combined times to go into qualifying as the man to beat, with Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) – who suffered a nasty highside at Turn 6 – unable to improve their times. 

As was predicted, the MotoGP™ riders found the going tough in FP3 as the riders who finished outside the top ten in FP2 chased a quick lap time, with the session starting in dramatic fashion for Repsol Honda as Lorenzo crashed on the exit of Turn 6. The five-time World Champion landed heavily and was slow to get to his feet, heading to the medical centre for a checkup. Then, teammate Marquez crash at Turn 14 moments later – rider ok, with the seven-time Champion heading back out to top FP3 standings.

With only Francesco Bagnaia (Alma Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira improving their times from Friday in FP3, the all-important top ten and automatic Q2 places remain unchanged from FP2. This means Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) remains Marquez’ closest challenger in P2, with Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) and fellow Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) sit third and fourth respectively.

Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) will be in Q2 on his maiden MotoGP™ qualifying outing, the rookie sits fifth fastest after Free Practice, just over a tenth ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati). Quartararo’s teammate Franco Morbidelli makes in two out of two for Petronas Yamaha SRT in Q2 on their inaugural Grand Prix weekend, the Italian sits P7, with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) eighth – the Spaniard crashing at Turn 2 late in FP3, rider ok.

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro bags an automatic Q2 spot in ninth, just ahead of rookie Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in P10. This means both Lorenzo and Rossi will have to contest in Q1 for a place in the second part of qualifying. But with the likes of Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), Bagnaia and others looking strong, the battle for the top two spots in that first qualifying session looks set to be a tight one.

Make sure you tune in for the first qualifying session of the season at 20:00 local time (GMT+3), which gets underway after FP4.

Top ten combined (through to Q2):
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) 1:53.380
2. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.474.
3. Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) + 0.528
4. Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) + 0.673
5. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.774
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) + 0.876
7. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.895
8. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.940
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.987
10. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 1.022

Click here for the full results! 

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