Petrucci sets blistering pace in breathless FP3

Italian sets first 1:36 MotoGP™ lap around Jerez, Marquez P2, factory Yamahas out of top ten

Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) set the first ever 1:36 MotoGP™ lap around the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto in an outrageously good FP3 at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España as the top 14 riders all went under the previous lap record. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) sits second, 0.061 off Petrucci’s pace, with fabulous Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) sitting third.

Well, where to start? Straight away in the cooler conditions, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) made his move to go into the top ten after missing out on Friday, pushing Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) in the process and on his next flying lap, Rins went to P1. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was also an early mover to get himself into the top ten in the early stages – The Doctor jumping up to sixth.

Marquez then took over at the summit, a 1:37.712 pushing Rins to second as the reigning World Champion went 0.128 faster. Then, while on a personal best lap, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) crashed at Turn 10. Rider ok, but Crutchlow’s LCR Honda hit the air-fence, leading it to deflate as the Red Flags came out with 17m17s to go in order for a repair job to take place.

We weren’t waiting too long before the premier class riders headed back out for a 17-minute dash for an automatic Q2 place, with much of the field sticking the soft rear Michelin rubber in. And boy, was it a barnstorming 17 minutes. Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) went quickest on his first flying lap, which set the tone for the rest of the session as we witnessed an incredible battle for the automatic Q2 places.

Quartararo then went to first before Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) became the first rider to break Crutchlow’s lap record set last year, but Petrucci topped the Japanese rider with a 1:37.547. Quartararo then took P1 back, but a certain seven-time World Champion was lighting up the timing screens. Marquez had slipped to P9 with eight minutes to go, with riders such as Rins, Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Crutchlow needing to improve their lap times.

And sure enough, Marquez hammered the lap record by over four tenths after Rossi had gone to the summit, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Crutchlow then interchanging P2 to knock Marquez’ advantage down to three tenths. Nakagami then went back to P2 before Petrucci but in a blinder, topping Marquez by 0.061 to set the first ever sub 1:37 lap at Jerez.

However, despite sitting top of the session in the latter stages, Lorenzo, Quartararo and Rossi were on the fringes of the top ten. Rossi couldn’t improve, but fast Fabio was on a lap that would knock the nine-time World Champion out of the top ten. The Frenchman did exactly that to go from P11 to P3, Lorenzo held on to P10, Rossi misses out.

After all that, Petrucci, Marquez and Quartararo are your top three heading into qualifying, with Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) cementing a Q2 spot in fourth. The two Team Suzuki Ecstar riders sit 5th and 6th, Joan Mir leading his teammate Rins by 0.028, with Nakagami heading his teammate Crutchlow in 7th and 8th. Morbidelli and Lorenzo close out the top ten covered by just 0.419 seconds, with the top 16 split by under a second.

Well if qualifying is anything like FP3 was, then we’re in for a real treat in Jerez. You really don’t want to miss the first European qualifying of the season, Q1 gets going at 14:10 with Q2 going green at 14:35.

Top 10 combined:
1. Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:36.957
2. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.061
3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.275
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) + 0.335
5. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.335
6. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.363
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.367
8. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) + 0.401
9. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.413
10. Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.419

Click here for the full results!

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