CADIZ, Spain – Italy’s Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Desmosedici GP19) set on Saturday the pace in the third free practice session ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix of MotoGP, prevailing with a tight 0.061s advantage over Spaniard Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC 213 V).
The third session of the free practice only added to the woes of Yamaha’s two riders, Italy’s Valentino Rossi and Spaniard Maverick Viñales, as they did not secure an automatic spot in the second qualifying round.
Jorge Lorenzo, who got to momentarily top the timesheet, held the last spot that gives access to the second qualifying round, while Australia’s Jack Miller (Ducati Desmosedici GP19), and the Espargaro brothers Pol and Aleix, as well as Rossi and Viñales.
Spaniard Alex Rins took the lead in the early stages but his countryman Marquez was in no mood to let the top spot go as he regained the lead with a time of one minute, 37.712 seconds, only 0.128s ahead of Suzuki’s pilot who posted one minute, 37.840s.
They were the first to improve the times they recorded on the first day of free practice, along with Rossi, who climbed from Friday’s 16th spot to sixth, and his teammate, Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo.
Cal Crutchlow (Honda RC 213 V) of the United Kingdom tried to pick up the pace in a bid to improve his time but he made an error on curve nine of the Jerez Angel Nieto circuit and hit the ground, severely damaging his bike. He was unharmed.
He headed off to the garage and the session was temporarily suspended.
Once the session resumed Lorenzo grabbed the lead with a time of one minute, 37.485s, but his joy was short-lived as France’s Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha YZR M 1) leapfrogged him by 0.001s.
However, it was Petrucci who took the rest by surprise, as he posted a circuit record of one minute, 37.547s, but the Frenchman hit back immediately with a new record (1:37.485).
The session was electric with several riders improving their times, which triggered an individual competition and Marquez was not ready to give up without a fight.
He was the first to post a time of 1:37.018, with Petrucci nipping at his heels. The Italian covered the circuit in 1:36.957.