September 25, 2021

Quartararo quickest as just 0.058s covers top four

Read Time:3 Minute, 18 Second

The World Championship leader tops the timesheets but Aprilia, Suzuki and Ducati are within a tenth in Aragon

In an astonishingly competitive MotoGP™ FP3 at the Gran Premio TISSOT de Aragon, World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) came out on top with a 1:46.926 to beat second fastest Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) by just 0.023s. Reigning World Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) claimed P3 and is 0.056s off Quartararo, with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) making it a top four covered by 0.058s.

An incredible fight for the top 10

After finishing 21st on Friday, 2020 Champion Mir was straight down to business on Saturday morning. The Spaniard climbed to just outside the top 10 in the early stages of FP3, with little other combined time improvements coming in. That was until there was 20 minutes to go, with Michelin soft rubber emerging on most of the bikes rolling out of pitlane.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) then moved the goalposts. A new benchmark was set by the Japanese rider in consecutive laps, a 1:47.317 the second of those, 0.296s faster than Jack Miller’s (Ducati Lenovo Team) Friday pace. Mir then quickly joined Nakagami at the top of the timesheets, the Suzuki star slotted into P2. It was getting very busy in FP3 with just under 15 minutes to go, as Quartararo climbed to P2, before El Diablo then shot 0.2s clear at the summit.

Fellow Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow was in Quartararo’s tow and returned to P3, as a couple of Italians turned up the wick. Bagnaia demoted Quartararo to P2 with the first 1:46 lap of the weekend, and just behind, Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) went from last to P8. Pecco wasn’t at the top for long though, Mir pounced to go P1 by a slender 0.002s.

Every rider was in attack mode and unsurprisingly, Quartararo was back on top. Then, drama. Yellow flags were waving in Sector 3 because of an Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) crash, but it looked like no one was affected. Miller leapt back into the top 10 along with Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), as Marc Marquez – pushing hard – then tucked the front of his RC213V at Turn 14, rider ok.

1.4s covers entire field, leading contenders in Q1

Miller’s last lap was good enough to hand the Australian P5 ahead of qualifying, with Martin sixth. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) is the leading HRC rider in seventh, the Spaniard leads compatriot Marc Marquez in P8 – the eight-time World Champion’s second crash of the weekend didn’t hinder his automatic Q2 promotion. Nakagami makes it three Hondas in the top 10, as rookie Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) claimed the final automatic Q2 spot.

Sensationally, less than half a second covers the top 14. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) is 0.470s off Quartararo’s pace, but the British GP podium finisher finds himself P14 and in Q1. 19 riders are lapping within a second of each other, with the entire field just 1.4s apart.

Qualifying is always a must-watch, but today especially. An incredible 0.058s between the top four, an insanely tight top 10 and leading contenders find themselves in Q1… 14:10 local time (GMT+2) – tune in!

Top 10:
1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – 1:46.926
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.023
3. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.056
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.058
5. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.133
6. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.194
7. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.208
8. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.259
9. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.330
10. Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) + 0.350

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