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MotoGP Jerez: Rossi takes charge into qualifying

Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi has taken charge of the MotoGP timesheets in today’s third free practice session at Jerez, using his final run to bag top spot just ahead of Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro.

Rossi put in a 1’39.244 with his penultimate lap but he was in a fight with the Marquez of Repsol Honda who looked set for the top of the tree but just couldn’t keep his momentum through the final sector and missed out by 0.0046 (really) seconds, then messed up the entry to turn one and had to settle for second.

Pol Espargaro got a huge tow from Marquez on his 16th lap of 18 and set a 1’39.435 to go ahead of reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo. Even with a new rear onboard, the Ducati-bound Spanard slipped from top spot to fourth and is now a quarter of a second slower than his Movistar Yamaha team-mate.


Even though track temperatures are much cooler than yesterday afternoon, laptimes for some riders, including Dani Pedrosa, dropped by a second or more. The little Spaniard was beside himself yesterday and said just couldn’t find any grip, so was losing huge chunks of time under acceleration.

His crew found something overnight however, as he led was at the sharp end for most of the session and ended in fifth place, just three-tenths off the pace on a 1’39.579 compared to his best yesterday of 1’40.925.

Maverick Vinales, who spend a couple of laps cocking about with Ecstar Suzuki team-mate Aleix Espargaro, dropped in a 1’39.742 on his last lap to nick sixth and jump ahead of Andrea Dovizioso - himself finding almost a second over yesterday.

Andrea Iannone used Ducati stablemate Eugene Laverty as a marker for his best lap of 1’39.819 which secured him ninth place, just behind Espargaro. Hector Barbera secured the final automatic qualifying two spot.

Alvaro Bautista snuck into 11th place on the Aprilia after getting a tow from Aleix Espargaro with Yonny Hernandez in 12th place while Cal Crutchlow was the best of the Brits in 13th.

He has Bradley Smith for company with Laverty and Scott Redding in 15th and 16th place, all four hoping to fit into the two qualifying two slots that are up for grabs this afternoon.

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