Dani Pedrosa finally broke team-mate Marc Marquez's monopoly at the top of the COTA MotoGP timesheets, during Saturday morning's third free practice session.

Rookie Marquez, unbeaten at COTA throughout three days of private testing and Friday of the inaugural grand prix, saw his reign threatened early when he was thrown from his RCV on entry to the penultimate, left-hand corner in the cooler morning conditions.

The 20-year-old Moto2 champion limped away, but returned with 30 of the 45-minutes to go - and went straight to the top! More improvements followed, including the fastest lap of the weekend, but early session leader Pedrosa responded in the closing minutes to snatch the top spot back by 0.387s.

Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow claimed third and fourth places, moving to within 0.9s and 1.2s of Pedrosa compared with 1.6 and 1.8s to Marquez on Friday. The Repsol Honda, LCR Honda and Factory Yamaha teams attended the private test in March, making satellite Tech 3 rider Crutchlow's form all the more impressive.

LCR's Bradl was the rider demoted by Lorenzo and Crutchlow, the German finishing +1.5s down on Pedrosa in fifth. Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso put in another impressive showing to snare sixth place on his final lap - pushing former Desmosedici rider Valentino Rossi down to a weekend-worst of seventh (+1.765s) for Factory Yamaha.

At the lower end of the top ten, the focus was on who would make the cut for direct access to the second and final part of qualifying.

Alvaro Bautista (Gresini Honda), Nicky Hayden (Ducati) and Ben Spies (Pramac Ducati) made the grade, Texan Spies keeping top CRT rider Aleix Espargaro at bay by 0.287s. Espargaro will be favourite for one of the remaining places in Q2, having held a half-second advantage over next closest rivals and manufacturer rookies Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Andrea Iannone (Pramac Ducati).

Austin is the first event where the CRT riders have a softer specification rear tyre relative to the manufacturer riders. CRT rear tyre choice is soft and medium, while manufacturer riders have medium and hard compounds.

A 30-minute fourth and final free practice session will be held, just before the two 15-minute qualifying sessions. The top two riders in Q1 will join the ten already confirmed in Q2.

All riders except Lukas Pesek and wild-card Mike Barnes set their best laps of the weekend this morning.

Free practice (3):
1. Dani Pedrosa
2. Marc Marquez
3. Jorge Lorenzo
4. Cal Crutchlow
5. Stefan Bradl
6. Andrea Dovizioso
7. Valentino Rossi
8. Alvaro Bautista
9. Nicky Hayden
10. Ben Spies

11. Aleix Espargaro
12. Bradley Smith
13. Andrea Iannone
14. Randy De Puniet
15. Yonny Hernandez
16.Karel Abraham
17.Danilo Petrucci
18. Hector Barbera
19. Claudio Corti
20.Hiroshi Aoyama
21.Colin Edwards
22. Michael Laverty
23. Bryan Staring
24. Blake Young
25. Lukas Pesek
26. Mike Barnes



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