Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez topped the third MotoGP practice at Barcelona this morning, bouncing back from a crash to set a 1’44.178 as Yamaha slump with not a single bike into qualifying two.
Jonas Folger was the best of the YZR-M1 runners, sitting in 11th place with series leader Maverick Vinales in 13th, Valentino Rossi in 15th and Johann Zarco - who had a fast crash at turn nine - in 16th.
Vinales looks like he is riding on eggshells, and complained yesterday that he could find no grip from either end of his Movistar-sponsored machine. The factory team did not test at Montmelo with the rest of the pack and it is showing.
Honda and Ducati are taking full advantage with Pedrosa second on the sheets and just a tenth behind reigning champion while Alvaro Bautista in third despite crashing at the same time and in the same place as Marquez but in separate incidents.
Aleix Espargaro, who can pretty much see his house from the track, topped the sheets with eight minutes left and a best lap of 1’44.409 was enough to keep in fourth place, one ahead of Andrea Dovizioso on the soft-tyred Ducati GP17.
Dovizioso’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo hauled himself from 19th to sixth with one lap on a soft/soft combination while Andrea Iannone bit the screen to get himself into qualifying two by right, setting a 1’44.656.
Scott Redding also put himself into contention, ending less than half a second off the pace for eighth. Danilo Petrucci will probably get his pants pulled down by the stewards for some handbags with Karel Abraham into the final chicane.
The Octo Ducati man was on a fast lap and came up behind the touring Aspar man exactly in the wrong place. Petrucci remonstrated with the Czech using a one-fingered wave, which carried on up pitlane. He still managed to make it into the top ten, nicking ninth and one ahead of Hector Barbera.
Folger missed out by 0.023s while Cal Crutchlow failed to make it into Q2 for the second weekend in a row. Loris Baz is sandwiched between the factory Yamahas with Zarco next along.
Sam Lowes and Bradley Smith completed the runners.