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MotoGP Silverstone: Marquez edges Vinales in third practice

MotoGP points leader Marc Marquez stormed to the top of the Silverstone timesheets in the third free practice session this morning, putting in a 2’00.944 to set the quickest lap of the weekend but he was pushed hard by the Ecstar Suzuki of Maverick Vinales who was just three one-thousandths of a second in arrears just before the rain arrived in Northamptonshire.

It was near disaster for Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa, however, as they just hung on to automatic qualifying two spots by the skin of their teeth, ending in eighth and tenth positions respectively while Britain’s Alex Lowes got his first taste of the softer-compound tyres and moved up to 16th fastest on a 2’03.081.

Marquez was the first man to dip under the 2’01s barrier, setting his time with less than two minutes to go but Vinales was straight on his case, pushing the former champion as hard as he could in the final-run time attack. Marquez looks set for consistent 2’02s laps as race pace which Vinales can match, give or take.


Yesterday’s fastest man Andrea Iannone slipped off at Farm corner right at the end of a session on the softer-compound rear Michelin - the same tyre he used yesterday - but looks in good shape for tomorrow with that tyre despite finding the limit of its wear and should be able to live with Marquez.

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow was also working on his race pace with consistent 2’02s but went down to a 2’01.241 to bag fourth place on the combined times and is less than two-tenths behind his Honda stablemate. Reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo set a 2’01.506 as his quickest for fifth but spend his time lapping in the low 2’03s using the older frame but new swingarm on the M1.

Scott Redding hopped to fifth place with a couple of minutes left but was rapidly demoted by Lorenzo. The Octo Ducati man has some 2’02s pace on the softer rear and he finished ahead of Andrea Dovizioso’s factory Desmosedici with Pedrosa in eighth.

Although Rossi finished way down the order, he has got his pace for tomorrow set as has as many laps in the 2’02s as Marquez but will need to find something with the soft tyre this afternoon to get a front-row grid position.

Lowes continues to impress and was quickly down into the 2’03s before putting in his best lap of the weekend so far on the first flying lap of his final run. Expect the World Superbike star to find at least another half a second in free practice four later as he prepares for his qualifying debut.

Eugene Laverty, who was worried about the grip drop yesterday, ended the session in 20th and could only manage a 2’04.098.

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