Still up, once down: Maverick Vinales fastest despite first crash
Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) kept his top spot on the combined timesheets after FP3 at Losail International Circuit, with his Friday stunner remaining unchallenged by the grid. The Spaniard also suffered his first Yamaha crash in an official session earlier in the day. Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was the late superstar of FP3, moving up from P17 to second overall and just beating reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) to P2.
The conditions were dry despite fears about the weather and stint of bad weather earlier in the day – with the grid given the chance to improve and fight it out for entry to Q2.
Behind Marquez was an impressive dash from reigning Moto2™ Champion Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who took over from his teammate Jonas Folger as fastest rookie on the overall timesheets. Folger is eighth on combined times, and also goes safely through to the Q2 qualifying session despite a crash.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completed the top five overall after the three sessions, ahead of FP2’s fastest man Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing). Redding also suffered two incidents in FP3 – with damage to his fairing followed by a late crash. Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa was seventh fastest, only 0.028 off the Brit.
Behind Folger was fellow crasher LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, who took ninth despite the late incident. Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) just completed the top ten as the last of those graduating automatically to Q2 – in by 0.021.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) had a tougher second day, ending twelfth on combined times and missing the cut by only half a tenth.
The grid head out for FP4 at 19:55 local time (GMT + 3) on Saturday evening, before Q1 chooses two more graduates for Q2 – and then first grid of the year gets decided…