Espargaro Stays Fast In Qatar Practice

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Aleix Espargaro remained fastest in MotoGP practice Friday in Qatar. (MotoGP Photo)
Aleix Espargaro remained fastest in MotoGP practice Friday in Qatar. (MotoGP Photo)
Aleix Espargaro remained fastest in MotoGP practice Friday in Qatar. (MotoGP Photo)

DOHA, Qatar – NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro completed a clean sweep of all three MotoGP practice sessions at the Losail Int’l Circuit Friday.

Espargaro, who paced the opening practice session on Thursday, set the fastest time of the weekend so far in the third practice session on his Open class bike. His 1:53.773 was enough to give him the top spot on the time sheets over Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista.

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) completed the top five in the third practice.

There was a big crash for Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith at turn five, but the Englishman limped away from the huge highside and was able to post the sixth best time of the evening. Former World title winner Jorge Lorenzo’s woes continued as he looked uncomfortable outside the top 10 for most of the session before pulling out a 1:55.495 to go seventh fastest.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) was eighth on Friday courtesy of his best FP2 time, whilst Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) squeezed into the top 10, Rossi with a late best time in the final minutes.

Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and the man he replaced on the Tech3 Yamaha, Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team), were the two big names to miss out on automatic Q2 participation. Crutchlow walked away from a crash at turn 10 and will look to improve on Saturday.