Qatar MotoGP: Espargaro holds off factory bikes to stay P1

By Simon Patterson -

MotoGP

 21 March 2014 19:09

Aleix Espargaro was top of the time sheets in yet another mixed up day at Qatar, with the top factory bike of Marc Marquez barely making an impression on the front end of the grid.

Espargaro continued his domination of the grid to finish 0.413 ahead of privateer Ducati of Andrea Iannone, with Alvaro Bautista in third. Andrea Dovizioso was fourth, taking the Ducati to only 0.01 off the front row.

Marquez was fifth, just ahead of Bradley Smith, who recovered from a monster highside that destroyed his number one bike to move as high as fourth.

Jorge Lorenzo was seventh, with the Yamaha rider visibly angry with the performance of his Movistar Yamaha. The Spaniard is also possibly facing the first penalty points of the season, after aborting a fast run to enter pit lane at the last possible moment, moving across the track into the path of other bikes.

Valentino Rossi was ninth, behind Bradl and just ahead of Dani Pedrosa, who was unable to improve on his time from the earlier session that left him ahead of the Italian. Rossi was just about to make the cut-off to move straight to the Q2 session by 0.026.

Pol Espargaro was eleventh, while Cal Crutchlow finished twelfth after introducing his Ducati GP14 to the gravel traps for the first time this year.

Scott Redding was 17th, 0.6 off the other privateer Honda of Nicky Hayden in 13th, while Michael Laverty was 22nd, getting laps on the PBM Aprilia after sitting out all of yesterday’s session.

1 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 325.6 1'54.773 
2 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 341.2 1'55.186 0.413 / 0.413
3 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 341.0 1'55.240 0.467 / 0.054
4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 342.3 1'55.250 0.477 / 0.010
5 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 340.3 1'55.446 0.673 / 0.196
6 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 335.2 1'55.474 0.701 / 0.028
7 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 334.2 1'55.495 0.722 / 0.021
8 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 338.4 1'55.676 0.903 / 0.181
9 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 336.4 1'55.702 0.929 / 0.026
10 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 339.8 1'55.754 0.981 / 0.052
11 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 334.5 1'55.793 1.020 / 0.039
12 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Ducati Team Ducati 338.0 1'56.013 1.240 / 0.220
13 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Drive M7 Aspar Honda 324.0 1'56.357 1.584 / 0.344
14 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 324.4 1'56.373 1.600 / 0.016
15 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 331.0 1'56.633 1.860 / 0.260
16 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Drive M7 Aspar Honda 330.8 1'56.939 2.166 / 0.306
17 45 Scott REDDING GBR GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 322.7 1'56.997 2.224 / 0.058
18 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Honda 324.5 1'57.345 2.572 / 0.348
19 23 Broc PARKES AUS Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 314.5 1'57.665 2.892 / 0.320
20 63 Mike DI MEGLIO FRA Avintia Racing Avintia 322.0 1'58.204 3.431 / 0.539
21 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Racing Avintia 322.7 1'58.219 3.446 / 0.015
22 70 Michael LAVERTY GBR Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 317.3 1'58.378 3.605 / 0.159
23 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA IodaRacing Project ART 321.0 1'58.651 3.878 / 0.273