Marc Marquez tops MotoGP's third practice session at Valencia

Honda's MotoGP champion Marc Marquez set the pace in third practice for the 2016 season finale at Valencia

Marc Marquez tops MotoGP's third practice session at Valencia

Marquez led the way for the bulk of a session that started relatively slowly, with track conditions cooler than on Friday afternoon.

With 10 minutes to go, only Bradley Smith (into 16th), Tito Rabat (into 20th), Cal Crutchlow (into sixth), and Aleix Espargaro (into fourth) had gained places in the combined order that determines the 10 automatic Q2 participants.

Marquez was the next to do so, with seven minutes remaining, going fastest in the session and moving to with 0.044 seconds of Jorge Lorenzo's Friday benchmark.

The next time around he bettered Lorenzo's time by two tenths with a 1m30.258s, signaling the start of a shootout in the final five minutes.

While Marquez did not go faster again, he had done enough to secure top spot.

Suzuki's Maverick Vinales was his closest challenger, recording a 1m30.361s with a little over one minute remaining to finish 0.103s behind.

Lorenzo did not use the softest rear tyre on his final run, and wound up fifth for the session, but his faster Friday time was still good enough for third in the combined order.

Andrea Dovizioso for Ducati and Honda's Dani Pedrosa were third and fourth, Pedrosa picking up his pace on his return from a broken collarbone.

Tech3 Yamaha's Pol Espargaro was sixth, pipping his Suzuki-riding brother Aleix, while Andrea Iannone, Valentino Rossi and Smith completed the top 10 and booked guaranteed places in Q2.

Iannone was involved in an odd incident mid-session, when he collected the rear of Yonny Hernandez's Aspar Ducati exiting Turn 1.

Both riders had slowed ostensibly to check the big screen on the infield, and Iannone rode into the back of Hernandez as they both moved off line, ripping the winglets from the left of the factory Ducati.

Smith, meanwhile, made Q2 for just the third time this year in his final weekend with Tech3, as he continues to recover from the knee injury that forced him to miss three races.

LCR Honda's Crutchlow was 11th and just 0.021s slower than Smith, while Pramac Ducati pair Scott Redding and Danilo Petrucci will also contest the first phase of qualifying.

Surprised to have finished three seconds off the pace on Friday, KTM and Mika Kallio finished 22nd and last again, but closed the gap to the front to 2.514s.

Pos Rider Team Time Gap Laps
1 Marc Marquez Honda 1m30.258s - 21
2 Maverick Vinales Suzuki 1m30.361s 0.103s 23
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m30.643s 0.385s 20
4 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m30.711s 0.453s 22
5 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m30.743s 0.485s 22
6 Pol Espargaro Tech3 Yamaha 1m30.745s 0.487s 20
7 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1m30.769s 0.511s 21
8 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1m30.834s 0.576s 20
9 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m30.852s 0.594s 22
10 Bradley Smith Tech3 Yamaha 1m31.002s 0.744s 21
11 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1m31.023s 0.765s 21
12 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati 1m31.147s 0.889s 20
13 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati 1m31.308s 1.050s 19
14 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 1m31.410s 1.152s 22
15 Jack Miller Marc VDS Honda 1m31.550s 1.292s 20
16 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati 1m31.589s 1.331s 21
17 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1m31.894s 1.636s 22
18 Tito Rabat Marc VDS Honda 1m31.976s 1.718s 24
19 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati 1m31.991s 1.733s 19
20 Eugene Laverty Aspar Ducati 1m32.240s 1.982s 19
21 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati 1m32.464s 2.206s 20
22 Mika Kallio KTM 1m32.772s 2.514s 19


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KTM surprised by pace deficit on MotoGP debut at Valencia
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