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Indianapolis MotoGP: Stefan Bradl sets third practice pace

Stefan Bradl set a new weekend benchmark to take control of Saturday morning MotoGP practice at Indianapolis.

The LCR Honda rider remained under the radar for much of the 45-minute session before joining most of the frontrunners on their qualifying-like runs.

Bradl's time of 1m32.522s demoted the Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo in the dying moments and less than a tenth of second covered the top three.

Andrea Dovizioso enjoyed a brief spell at the top of the order before the late flurry of activity, but the Italian held on to fourth and just 0.030 seconds ahead of Pol Espargaro.

Marc Marquez dropped down the order as the session drew to its conclusion. The reigning champion was the pacesetter for much of it, but Marquez was unable to find gains on his Honda during his final run.

The runaway points leader also suffered a wild moment at Turn 16 early on, when he momentarily lost control of his bike, but somehow defied gravity and managed to stay upright.

Andrea Iannone also had an issue as the session began when his Pramac Ducati came to an abrupt halt, but the birthday boy was able to post the seventh quickest time once on his back-up machine.

Bradley Smith and Dani Pedrosa claimed eighth and ninth, while Aleix Espargaro jumped up to 10th, and automatic entry to Q2 in qualifying, as the chequered flag fell.

Yonny Hernandez failed to crack the combined practice top 12 and will have to compete in the first Q1 shootout, as will Gresini's Alvaro Bautista, who had an enormous high-side at Turn 13 and was flicked violently into the air.

The Spaniard appeared to be unhurt and will go on to compete against the likes of Scott Redding and Cal Crutchlow, who ended the session 13th and 14th respectively.

Pos  Rider             Team/Bike             Time       Gap    
 1.  Stefan Bradl      LCR Honda             1m32.522s         
 2.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha                1m32.538s  +0.016s
 3.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha                1m32.606s  +0.084s
 4.  Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati                1m32.767s  +0.245s
 5.  Pol Espargaro     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m32.797s  +0.275s
 6.  Marc Marquez      Honda                 1m32.862s  +0.340s
 7.  Andrea Iannone    Pramac Ducati         1m33.015s  +0.493s
 8.  Bradley Smith     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m33.202s  +0.680s
 9.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda                 1m33.220s  +0.698s
10.  Aleix Espargaro   Forward Yamaha        1m33.453s  +0.931s
11.  Yonny Hernandez   Pramac Ducati         1m33.634s  +1.112s
12.  Alvaro Bautista   Gresini Honda         1m33.676s  +1.154s
13.  Scott Redding     Gresini Honda         1m33.765s  +1.243s
14.  Cal Crutchlow     Ducati                1m34.118s  +1.596s
15.  Hiroshi Aoyama    Aspar Honda           1m34.267s  +1.745s
16.  Karel Abraham     Cardion Honda         1m34.745s  +2.223s
17.  Danilo Petrucci   Ioda Aprilia          1m34.772s  +2.250s
18.  Hector Barbera    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  1m34.801s  +2.279s
19.  Mike di Meglio    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  1m34.938s  +2.416s
20.  Leon Camier       Aspar Honda           1m35.010s  +2.488s
21.  Colin Edwards     Forward Yamaha        1m35.122s  +2.600s
22.  Broc Parkes       PBM-Aprilia           1m35.521s  +2.999s
23.  Michael Laverty   PBM-Aprilia           1m35.915s  +3.393s
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