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Le Mans: Marquez blasts clear in final practice

18 May 2013

MotoGP rookie Marc Marquez blasted to a half-second advantage during Saturday morning's final practice for the French MotoGP at Le Mans.

To put that into perspective, Marquez's 0.499s lead would have covered the top six riders after Friday practice!

Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo had led most of the Saturday morning session, with Marquez firing his Repsol Honda to the top - and smashing the 1m 34s barrier - in the final minute.

The 20-year-old title leader then improved again on his last lap to increase his advantage over Lorenzo.

Marquez's team-mate and Friday pace setter Dani Pedrosa was third quickest, +0.582s, with Ducati's Nicky Hayden snatching fourth on his final lap (+0.826s). Cal Crutchlow (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) completed the Saturday morning top six.

Crutchlow's rookie team-mate Bradley Smith delivered an impressive performance to claim seventh in the session and ninth on combined practice times. Alvaro Bautista secured the final automatic entry into this afternoon's Q2 session, despite missing the latter part of FP3 after a hefty highside from his Gresini Honda.

Lorenzo's team-mate Valentino Rossi, a close third on Friday, was only ninth quickest this morning (+1.214s). Pedrosa, Rossi and LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl were among those not to improve in FP3.

The top ten riders on combined practice times are as follows: Marquez, Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Rossi, Bradl, Hayden, Crutchlow, Dovizioso, Smith, Bautista.

All others will fight for the final two Q2 places available during the first qualifying session.

Rain was predicted for Saturday morning but conditions were again dry and bright - although also cold and damp in places, prompting caution in the form of the softer option front tyre (as well as rear) for the early laps.

The leading riders soon made the transition to the harder front, with Lorenzo quickly on the pace and setting his best lap of the weekend after eleven minutes. That kept the #99 fastest until Marquez's late charge.

Rain continues to be forecast for this afternoon, but will it arrive before or after qualifying?

Free practice (3):

1. Marc Marquez
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Dani Pedrosa
4. Nicky Hayden
5. Cal Crutchlow
6. Andrea Dovizioso
7. Bradley Smith
8. Alvaro Bautista
9. Valentino Rossi
10. Stefan Bradl
11. Randy De Puniet
12. Andrea Iannone
13. Aleix Espargaro
14. Hector Barbera
15. Michele Pirro
16. Claudio Corti
17. Danilo Petrucci
18. Colin Edwards
19. Karel Abraham
20. Hiroshi Aoyama
21. Yonny Hernandez
22. Bryan Staring
23. Lukas Pesek
24. Michael Laverty


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