Former MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez remained at the top of the Argentina timesheets in the third free practice session this morning but title rival Jorge Lorenzo ran him close, ending just 0.024s behind.
The reigning champion was at sea yesterday as he finished more than a second off the pace but with some setup changes and a much cleaner track today, Lorenzo was able to up the game considerably and drop his laptime to a 1’40.392.
Marquez set his best laps before a crash with seven minutes go put paid to any more improvements but Lorenzo left it until his last run as the track became cleaner to move towards the sharp end.
The Mallorcan came out with a 1’40.496 and then set his quickest time before putting in three more laps in the 1’40, taking his tally to five. Marquez managed seven in two separate runs.
Andrea Iannone bagged third place and was quickest Ducati on a 1’40.741 but was pushed hard by the satellite Avinita bike of Hector Barbera who didn’t get a tow for his final lap of 1’40.766.
The Spaniard’s lap was enough to mush compatriot Maverick Vinales down to fifth place but he is much more consistent with four laps in the 1’40s.
Dani Pedrosa put in a 1’40.807 to claim sixth, one ahead of Aleix Espargaro while Britain’s Cal Crutchlow stuck in a bite-the-screen 1’40.929 for eighth.
Andrea Dovizioso ended in ninth place and Valentino Rossi just squeaked an automatic qualifying two slot in tenth with his fastest lap of 1’41.101 but he looks in trouble compared to the pace of Lorenzo and Marquez.
Jack Miller was just denied a Q2 slot and will have to fight with Pol Esargaro and Bradley Smith to get through Q1 and into a decent grid slot.
Scott Redding will be disappointed with his 17th place while Eugene Laverty upped his pace from yesterday but was still 21st.