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Catalunya MotoGP: Bradl from Marquez in Catalunya FP3

Stefan Bradl fastest during Free Practice 3 for the Catalunya MotoGP.
CLICK HERE to view full Free Practice 3 results for the Catalunya MotoGP.

Stefan Bradl jumped from eleventh to first on his final lap of Saturday morning practice at the Catalunya MotoGP.

The Honda LCR rider was under pressure to break into the overall top ten and thus ensure direct access to Qualifying 2 - responding in style to topple world champion Marc Marquez by 0.194s. Bradl was using the hard front tyre and medium rear.

The cooler morning temperatures, albeit still 28 degrees, had cleared the way for Marquez to set the best lap of the weekend early in the 45 minute session. The Repsol Honda star, who can extend his unbeaten run to seven with a home victory on Sunday, then remained in charge until Bradl's late burst.

Aleix Espargaro's soft tyre Friday time kept the Forward Yamaha rider in third overall, although he was seventh best in FP3 and the only rider not to improve.

Younger brother Pol had an incident packed session, hanging on during numerous big moments on his Tech 3 Yamaha and twice running off track on his way to securing the final top ten place.

Team-mate Bradley Smith, fastest in the scorching Friday afternoon conditions, continued his strong weekend with third in the session (fourth overall), as the top YZR-M1 rider and just 0.364s from Bradl.

Smith began the day with a nine-lap run, the longest of any rider this morning, then set his best time on the second of five flying laps at the end of the session.

Pole and lap record holder Dani Pedrosa kept control during a trip through the end-of-back-straight gravel on his way to fourth, with defending Catalunya winner Jorge Lorenzo fifth (+0.460s) for Movistar Yamaha.

Team-mate Valentino Rossi was a fraction slower with Pramac's Yonny Hernandez tucking into the Italian's slipstream to take eighth in the session, behind Aleix Espargaro, and be the top Ducati rider. The Colombian fitted the soft rear tyre to his 2013 Desmosedici, as did factory team rider Andrea Dovizioso, who recorded ninth (0.559s from Bradl) on the GP14.

Team-mate Cal Crutchlow appeared as high as fourth during the session but again appeared unable to fully benefit from the special Open class soft rubber and was left in twelfth place (+0.848s).

The Englishman will be joined in a Qualifying 1 appearance by the likes of Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista (eleventh) and Pramac Ducati's Andrea Iannone (14th), who usually excels on the soft tyre.

Aspar's Nicky Hayden defied his healing wrist to move up to 14th place, as the leading Production Honda rider, but was losing almost 20km/h in top speed relative to the fastest Factory bikes.

Fellow American Colin Edwards rode Forward's new FTR chassis to 15th place, with Ducati test rider Michele Pirro in 17th.

This afternoon's FP4, just prior to qualifying, will be critical for improving race pace in the hot afternoon conditions.

Free Practice 3:
1. Stefan Bradl
2. Marc Marquez
3. Bradley Smith
4. Dani Pedrosa
5. Jorge Lorenzo
6. Valentino Rossi
7. Aleix Espargaro
8. Yonny Hernandez
9. Andrea Dovizioso
10. Pol Espargaro
11. Alvaro Bautista
12. Cal Crutchlow
13. Andrea Iannone
14. Nicky Hayden
15. Colin Edwards
16. Michele Pirro
17. Scott Redding
18. Hiroshi Aoyama
19. Karel Abraham
20. Hector Barbera
21. Michael Laverty
22. Broc Parkes
23. Mike Di Meglio
24. Michel Fabrizio

Tagged as: Honda , Bradl

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