MotoGP's star rookie Marc Marquez completed a perfect double during Friday's practice sessions for round one of the 2013 Championship in Qatar.
The Repsol Honda rider pipped reigning double MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo, leader on Thursday, by just 0.001s at the very end of Friday's second session under the floodlights at Losail.
Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi
again made it three Yamahas in a close top four, with Andrea Dovizioso
just 0.333s from Marquez in fifth for Ducati.
Marquez's team-mate Dani Pedrosa
looked to have solved his corner entry woes with big gains early in the third session and, although pushed back to sixth and again seen visiting the turn one run-off, at least cut the gap to 0.418s.
Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista took seventh and Ducati's Nicky Hayden
FP3 brought added pressure for the slower manufacturer riders, with those left outside of the top ten forced to take part in the Q1 stage of MotoGP's new qualifying format on Saturday.
That prompted a qualifying-style time attack in the closing part of third practice, with those from seventh onwards initially at risk of being bumped out of guaranteed Q2 access.
By the time the dust (sand) had settled the manufacturer riders to lose out were Pramac Ducati team-mates Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies, who could not match nearest rivals Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda), in ninth and tenth.
Rookie Smith enjoyed his best form of the weekend, featuring in sixth position during the second half of the 45-minutes. Bradl meanwhile gave himself what seemed like an unnecessary scare after finishing fifth quickest in the earlier Friday session.
For rookie Iannone the extra track time of Q1 is not the end of the world - providing he can secure a top two place, allowing him to join the ten fastest riders for the Q2 pole position shootout. But Iannone and Spies are likely to face a real fight to reach Q2 from top CRT rider Aleix Espargaro (Aspar), who was only a tenth of a second slower than the Texan and 0.25s from Iannone.
Despite strong winds, and earlier occasional light rain, all riders set their best lap times so far during FP3.
A new, fourth free practice session (of 30 minutes) will be held on Saturday evening just before qualifying. FP4 lap times do not count towards qualifying entry.Friday practice 2 (FP3):
1. Marc Marquez
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Cal Crutchlow
4. Valentino Rossi
5. Andrea Dovizioso
6. Dani Pedrosa
7. Alvaro Bautista
8. Nicky Hayden
9. Bradley Smith
10. Stefan Bradl
11. Andrea Iannone
12. Ben Spies
13. Aleix Espargaro
14. Hector Barbera
15. Yonny Hernandez
16. Randy De Puniet
17. Colin Edwards
18. Karel Abraham
19. Hiroshi Aoyama
20. Danilo Petrucci
21. Bryan Staring
22. Lukas Pesek
23. Michael Laverty
24. Claudio Corti