In an incredibly close FP3 session Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez remained on top of the timings with his time of 1’54.822, breaking Casey Stoner’s circuit lap record from 2008 (1’55.153). Team-mate Dani Pedrosa was also quick out of the box but ended the session in fifth place, just 0.202 seconds off his teammate.
Marquez has led every session so far in this weekend’s Qatar GP, the opening round of 2015, and his record time which was made on his final flying lap, beat Honda satellite rider Cal Crutchlow’s time by just 0.096s, which means he will not need to take part in tomorrow’s Q1. Pedrosa finished in fifth place with his time of 1’55.024 and he also qualifies for Q2.
Marquez said: “Today has been a very good day, because we have improved our pace – which is the most important thing – and tried out a few things that have allowed us to progress. We will see tomorrow if the track conditions stay the same or improve, but today we saw times that were very close; I think that tomorrow they will be even closer. The most important thing will be to continue like this and prepare for Sunday’s race.”
Pedrosa said: “Unlike yesterday, today we had two practice sessions and we were able to get more of a feel for both the bike and the track. I think that getting into Q1 is good and now we have to focus on tomorrow in order to make the final adjustments to the setup and qualify well for the race.”
The riders will return on track for tomorrow’s FP4 at 19h55 local time, with Q1 taking place at 20h35 and Q2 at 21h00 with both sessions expected to be very closely fought battles. Just 1.1 seconds separates the top nineteen riders, with a mere half a second between the top ten riders.