6 days ago
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Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) topped MotoGP™ FP3 by 0.455 seconds at the Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon, but it’s Maverick Vñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) who remains fastest overall thanks to his FP2 flyer. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) completes the top three ahead of qualifying but the Frenchman suffered a nasty crash at Turn 14, seeing him take a trip to the medical centre. Drama on Saturday morning, with no Ducati riders making it into the automatic Q2 places.
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Quartararo suffers painful FP3 crash at Turn 14
The schedule change saw the MotoGP™ riders head out for FP3 at 10:55 local time, and the intentions were clear – try and grab a top 10 place ahead of qualifying. In the beginning, the riders were still some way off the fastest FP2 times as Quartararo sat top with a 1:49.194, a 1:48.020 was the Frenchman’s best on Friday afternoon. One thing to note was Alex Rins’ (Team Suzuki Ecstar) 10th place time, a 1:48.839 and already Quartararo and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) were in the 1:49.1s with 10 minutes gone.
With 20 minutes gone there were still no improvements on the combined standings, with Quartararo still top of the pile in FP3. All the Ducatis needed to find time as none of them sat in the top 10, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) crashing at Turn 6 – a right-hander, something the Italian said they were struggling with on Friday when trying to get temperature into the front. Dovizioso walked away, but it was another dent in the title contender’s confidence.
So, with 15 to go, Nakagami was the first rider to improve on the combined standings. The Japanese rider was up to P4 having found half a second, so there was time to be found on Saturday morning in Aragon. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) then set his best time of the weekend with just over 10 minutes to go, but the Italian was still half a second off the top 10 – both he and teammate Jack Miller were out on fresh Michelin soft tyres to try and penetrate the automatic Q2 places.
Then, drama for the Championship leader. Turn 14 saw Quartararo suffer his second fast crash of the weekend and he went down hard, on the same hip he crashed on in FP1. His YZR-M1 spitting the Frenchman off and Quartararo had to be stretchered away, thankfully he was sat up and talking at the side of the track, but clearly in pain after a nasty off. Meanwhile, Miller had found time and was up into the top 10 – P6 for the Aussie, which pushed Rins out with five minutes to go.
Morbidelli then went faster, he chopped Viñales’ advantage down to less than a tenth with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) then grabbing a top 10 place. Times were starting to come in now, Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) launched himself from P9 to P4, Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) went four tenths faster than he did on Friday to go P5 – cracking job by the rookie. Miller’s lap time was the cancelled for a yellow flag infringement, seeing him drop back down to P16. Rins and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) then found themselves in the top 10 to demote Oliveira out, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) shot up to P4.
Dovizioso crossed the line but all he could manage was P13 and it was a disaster for the Bologna factory – all six riders were heading into Q1. On his last flying lap, Mir went P6 overall and that was that. Viñales, Morbidelli and Quartararo remained at the top as we await news on Quartararo’s condition ahead of qualifying. Crutchlow and Pol Espargaro complete the top five, Mir is sixth with double World Champion Alex Marquez heading into Q2 for the first time. Nakagami makes it three Hondas in Q2, with Rins and Aleix Espargaro grabbing the final two spots with a late flurry.
All this means every Ducati will compete in Q1 as no Desmosedicis finish in the top 10 after Free Practice for the first time in 2020, the fastest of them is Dovizioso in P13. Oliveira and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) finished P11 and P12, and the KTM duo will make life very hard for any Ducati rider to progress.
Drama aplenty in FP3, what does qualifying have in store? Will Quartararo be ok to compete? Find out at 14:50 local time (GMT+2)!
Top 10 combined:
1. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – 1:47.771
2. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.088
3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.249
4. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) + 0.543
5. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.548
6. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.551
7. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.632
8. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.635
9. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.862
10. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.882
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