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Le Mans MotoGP: Marc Marquez sets stunning time in third practice

Marc Marquez MotoGP 2013Marc Marquez set a stunning time in Saturday morning MotoGP practice at Le Mans to go half a second clear of the field.

As conditions remained dry, contrary to forecasts, riders immediately pushed for quick times but found it hard to beat Dani Pedrosa's Friday benchmark.

Jorge Lorenzo got within a few fractions of a second and looked set to end practice three on top.

But in the closing moments, Marquez unleashed a string of ultra-rapid laps on his Honda.

Though the first was stymied by traffic in the final corners, there was no hampering Marquez next time around as he beat his rivals by four tenths of a second.

There was more speed to come, and as the chequered flag fell Marquez put in a 1m33.600s, close to the 2012 pole time, and 0.499s faster than Lorenzo's Yamaha.

Pedrosa was 0.083s down on Lorenzo in third on the second Honda.

Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso kept Ducati in the hunt in fourth and sixth, split by the unwell Cal Crutchlow's Tech 3 Yamaha.

Valentino Rossi MotoGP 2013Valentino Rossi had a quiet morning and was only ninth.

Bradley Smith was another star of the session as he pushed hard to secure a Q2 spot.

Tech 3's rookie was seventh quickest as he managed to move up to 10th on combined times, pushing Aleix Espargaro outside the Q2 cut.

That means the Pramac Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Michele Pirro will be the only prototypes in Q1.

Alvaro Bautista looked vulnerable to missing the cut when he crashed at the Dunlop chicane and could not get out on his spare bike in time to defend his position.

But with only Smith able to make major gains, the Gresini driver hung on to his Q2 spot.

Bautista's was one of three late falls in the chicane, with Yonny Hernandez and Hector Barbera doing likewise. All three were unhurt.

Pos Rider                Team/Bike            Time      Gap       Laps
 1. Marc Marquez         Honda                1m33.600s            21
 2. Jorge Lorenzo        Yamaha               1m34.099s + 0.499s   21
 3. Dani Pedrosa         Honda                1m34.182s + 0.582s   21
 4. Nicky Hayden         Ducati               1m34.426s + 0.826s   21
 5. Cal Crutchlow        Tech 3 Yamaha        1m34.467s + 0.867s   21
 6. Andrea Dovizioso     Ducati               1m34.476s + 0.876s   21
 7. Bradley Smith        Tech 3 Yamaha        1m34.597s + 0.997s   21
 8. Alvaro Bautista      Gresini Honda        1m34.786s + 1.186s   15
 9. Valentino Rossi      Yamaha               1m34.814s + 1.214s   22
10. Stefan Bradl         LCR Honda            1m34.990s + 1.390s   22
11. Randy De Puniet      Aspar Aprilia        1m35.122s + 1.522s   22
12. Andrea Iannone       Pramac Ducati        1m35.243s + 1.643s   18
13. Aleix Espargaro      Aspar Aprilia        1m35.507s + 1.907s   18
14. Hector Barbera       Avintia FTR          1m35.565s + 1.965s   15
15. Michele Pirro        Ducati               1m35.592s + 1.992s   19
16. Claudio Corti        Forward FTR          1m36.265s + 2.665s   18
17. Danilo Petrucci      Ioda-Suter           1m36.279s + 2.679s   24
18. Colin Edwards        Forward FTR          1m36.658s + 3.058s   19
19. Karel Abraham        Cardion Aprilia      1m36.784s + 3.184s   19
20. Hiroshi Aoyama       Avintia FTR          1m36.866s + 3.266s   20
21. Yonny Hernandez      Paul Bird Aprilia    1m37.151s + 3.551s   10
22. Bryan Staring        Gresini FTR-Honda    1m37.376s + 3.776s   20
23. Lukas Pesek          Ioda-Suter           1m37.693s + 4.093s   18
24. Michael Laverty      Paul Bird PBM        1m37.813s + 4.213s   18
Daytona Competition
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