MotoGP Argentina: Marquez tops times but Crutchlow and Redding into QP2

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Marc Marquez set the pace in FP3 with the Spaniard setting the pace by less than tenth of a second from Cal Crutchlow with the Englishman showing how comfortable he is getting with the Honda RC213v.

With the top ten making it through to QP2 automatically Crutchlow will be joined by his compatriot Scott Redding after the Marc VDS rider set a last gasp time to get into the top ten and edge Pol Espargaro and Eugene Laverty into the first qualifying session. Laverty’s time was especially impressive on the Aspar Honda with the Irishman looking much more comfortable on the softer tyre and easily the fastest Open Honda.

The Ducati’s look to be a contender for the front row once again however the Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone both are having to push harder this weekend than we have seen in the opening two rounds. With a low grip track surface the challenge in Argentina was always likely to be much greater for the Italian bikes.

Those conditions, and the lack of a long straight, play to the strengths of the Suzuki and both riders made it through to QP2 automatically with Aleix Espargaro once again close to the pace in finishing fifth fastest ahead of the factory Yamaha’s.

Bradley Smith will have to make his way through the treacherous waters of QP1 with the Open Honda’s showing an impressive turn of speed this weekend on the softer tyre. Yonny Hernandez, who qualified on the second row in Qatar, will be a real contender when he uses the softer tyre on his Pramac Ducati.

Alvaro Bautista continues to look comfortable on the Aprilia with the Spaniard 18th fastest and just 1.3s off the pace of Marquez. Bautista is looking more and more at ease on the Aprilia and having scored a point in Austin his confidence is sky high.

Steve English

By Steve English