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Ducati stays on top in MotoGP Qatar FP3 with Andrea Iannone

Ducati's Andrea Iannone completed a sweep of Friday's two practice sessions for the MotoGP season opener in Qatar

Iannone led the way in the weekend's second practice earlier on Friday, and was the last rider to make his move during the 45-minute FP3 session.

When he did, he went straight to the top from fifth on the combined times, with a lap of 1m54.639s.

It was good enough to lead reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo by 0.137 seconds.

Lorenzo also moved up late, taking top spot with six minutes remaining with a time of 1m55.219s thanks largely to a stunning final sector.

The very next time around, the Yamaha rider improved again, becoming the first rider to break the 1m55s barrier this weekend with a 1m54.776s lap.

While that was 0.463s clear at the top at the time, Marc Marquez improved immediately and to halve that advantage, before Iannone struck late to claim top spot.

Marquez improved again to ensure the top three riders were split by just 0.196s, as 0.866s covered the top 12 in a frenetic session.

Iannone's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso claimed fourth with his final lap, ahead of Suzuki's Maverick Vinales and Honda's Dani Pedrosa, who sat atop the times for most of the session after making an early soft-tyre run.

Valentino Rossi moved up from ninth to seventh on his final lap, while Ducati satellite riders Hector Barbera and Scott Redding also booked places in Saturday's second phase of qualifying, despite Redding falling at the end.

Pol Espargaro was in the Tech3 Yamaha garage when the chequered flag flew, having run out of fuel, but he held onto 10th and the final Q2 spot by just 0.015s over brother and Suzuki rider Aleix Espargaro.

Bradley Smith had improved early in the session to be 10th at that point, but he crashed at the entry of Turn 6 with 12 minutes remaining.

Following his second fall in as many days, Smith dropped to 12th in the order, ahead of Loris Baz, Danilo Petrucci and Cal Crutchlow, while Jack Miller also crashed, at Turn 9, on his way to 17th.

** Follow qualifying for the Qatar GP and Sunday's race on Autosport Race Centre Live this weekend

FP3 TIMES

Pos Rider Team Time Gap Laps
1 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1m54.639s - 18
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m54.776s 0.137s 18
3 Marc Marquez Honda 1m54.835s 0.196s 17
4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m54.945s 0.306s 16
5 Maverick Vinales Suzuki 1m54.976s 0.337s 17
6 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m55.113s 0.474s 18
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m55.175s 0.536s 17
8 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati 1m55.323s 0.684s 15
9 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati 1m55.399s 0.760s 14
10 Pol Espargaro Tech3 Yamaha 1m55.476s 0.837s 19
11 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1m55.491s 0.852s 15
12 Bradley Smith Tech3 Yamaha 1m55.505s 0.866s 20
13 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati 1m55.773s 1.134s 18
14 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati 1m55.931s 1.292s 14
15 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1m55.946s 1.307s 16
16 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati 1m56.100s 1.461s 17
17 Jack Miller Marc VDS Honda 1m56.207s 1.568s 13
18 Tito Rabat Marc VDS Honda 1m56.625s 1.986s 18
19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1m56.749s 2.110s 18
20 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 1m57.069s 2.430s 17
21 Eugene Laverty Aspar Ducati 1m57.135s 2.496s 15

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