Marquez heads FP3, Crutchlow misses top ten cut
14 September 2013
Marc Marquez remained at the head of the timesheets during Saturday's third practice session for the San Marino MotoGP.
Further back, Cal Crutchlow's miserable weekend continued as the double 2013 pole position holder missed out on a top ten time and will thus be forced to take part in Qualifying 1 this afternoon.
As on Friday, Marquez set his best lap - the first below the 1m 34s mark this weekend - relatively early on (lap 9 of 21) with his rivals then closing in as the session continued, but not quite able to catch the 20-year-old.
Marquez did however suffer a small scare when he almost clipped the back of Lukas Pesek under braking, halfway through the session
Repsol Honda team-mate and nearest title rival Dani Pedrosa was again second quickest, this time by just 0.149s, but suffered a lowside fall in the final minutes, prematurely ending his session.
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo spent the early part of FP3 in the pits while the team worked on his factory M1, naturally prompting speculation that he may have hit problems with the new seamless shift gearbox, making its grand prix debut this weekend.
Such thoughts seemed unfounded, and it was simply set-up changes, but the lost time meant the reigning double champion was only 14th quickest after 15 of the 45 minutes. Lorenzo then moved swiftly up to second place - between Marquez and Pedrosa - by the halfway stage.
After Pedrosa improved, Lorenzo remained in third but only 0.249s from the top. Lorenzo's team-mate and home hero Valentino Rossi was fourth quickest, +0.382s, meaning all three sessions have seen two factory Hondas closely followed by two factory Yamahas.
Rossi unveiled a special helmet on Saturday morning, dedicated to Marco Simoncelli, with the Pink Floyd-inspired words “Wish you were here”. Like Rossi, Misano was Simoncelli's local circuit and is now named in honour of the 250cc world champion who lost his life in the 2011 Malaysian MotoGP race.
Andrea Dovizioso made late progress to claim fifth place for home manufacturer Ducati, +0.473s, followed by satellite Honda riders Alvaro Bautista (Gresini) and Stefan Bradl (LCR).
The top ten riders after FP3 (combined times) receive direct access to the second and final part of this afternoon's qualifying session.
Among those needing to improve this morning to make the cut were manufacturer riders Nicky Hayden (Ducati), Andrea Iannone (Pramac Ducati) and Bradley Smith - with Smith's Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Crutchlow also in danger after an off-form tenth on Friday.
Hayden rose as high as fourth early in the Saturday session and pushed Crutchlow, riding with an injured arm from Silverstone, into the drop zone.
Improvements by others later shuffled Hayden back down the order and the closing stages began with Michele Pirro, Hayden, Crutchlow, Iannone and Smith ranked 9th to 13th respectively on combined times.
Aspar's CRT-ace Aleix Espargaro - like Pramac Ducati stand-in Pirro, who fell - did not improve this morning, also throwing his top ten place into jeopardy.
By the time the chequered flag was waved, Iannone (8th on combined times), Espargaro (9th) and Hayden (10th) were in, with Pirro (11th), Crutchlow (12th) and Smith (13th) missing out.
The trio will now join the privateer CRT riders, with the exception of Espargaro, in fighting over the last two Q2 places in the Qualifying 1 session.
Free Practice 3:
1. Marc Marquez
2. Dani Pedrosa
3. Jorge Lorenzo
4. Valentino Rossi
5. Andrea Dovizioso
6. Alvaro Bautista
7. Stefan Bradl
8. Andrea Iannone
9. Nicky Hayden
10. Aleix Espargaro
11. Cal Crutchlow
12. Bradley Smith
13. Michele Pirro
14. Danilo Petrucci
15. Hector Barbera
16. Colin Edwards
17. Hiroshi Aoyama
18. Claudio Corti
19. Randy De Puniet
20. Yonny Hernandez
21. Karel Abraham
22. Bryan Staring
23. Michael Laverty
24. Lukas Pesek