MotoGP Austin: Honda rider Marquez dominates rain-hit FP3

Honda rider Marc Marquez dominated the rain-disrupted third MotoGP free practice session at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin

MotoGP Austin: Honda rider Marquez dominates rain-hit FP3

Marquez was among the few riders to better his Friday laptime before weather intervened, and ended FP3 four tenths clear of nearest rival Johann Zarco, who likewise posted his personal best lap of the weekend.

The Frenchman had looked set to miss out on an automatic Q2 spot after placing just 13th overall in the first two practice sessions, but forced his way into the top 10 with a strong showing.

Zarco's FP3 gains left Dani Pedrosa on the cusp of Q1, but the Honda rider, competing at COTA despite the recent surgery on his left wrist, found extra pace to secure a Q2 berth at the expense of Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro.

The threat of rain spurred on early track activity in the 45-minute session, and it was Marquez who quickly grabbed the top spot, ending his first run half a second clear - and just a tenth off Andrea Iannone's Friday benchmark.

This was followed by a marginally quicker effort from the reigning champion as the session ticked over the halfway point, Marquez logging a 2m04.608s and coming up just 0.009s short of Suzuki rider Iannone's laptime.

The traditional late-FP3 qualifying-sim shootout that was expected to follow was then scuppered by the arrival of rain with 10 minutes left on the clock, which left the running order set in stone.

Iannone, whose Friday lap remains as the weekend's benchmark, ended the FP3 session third, with LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow fourth and Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso fifth.

The latter was another rider to post an improved laptime in the Saturday morning practice session, and did so while running Ducati's aero package on his GP18.

Pedrosa placed sixth in the session, with Yamaha team-mates Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi in seventh and ninth, split by Suzuki's Alex Rins - with all of them making it through to Q2.

Scott Redding made up the top 10 in FP3 despite taking a tumble early on at the Turn 14 right-hander.

Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo was 11th in FP3, but advanced to Q2 on the strength of his Friday laptime.

FP3 times

Pos Rider Team Gap Laps
1 Marc Marquez Honda 2m04.608s 14
2 Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha 0.417s 10
3 Andrea Iannone Suzuki 0.615s 14
4 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 0.859s 11
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 0.862s 11
6 Dani Pedrosa Honda 0.896s 12
7 Maverick Vinales Yamaha 1.078s 13
8 Alex Rins Suzuki 1.096s 13
9 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1.191s 13
10 Scott Redding Aprilia 1.315s 9
11 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati 1.321s 13
12 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati 1.321s 10
13 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1.535s 10
14 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda 1.618s 16
15 Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati 1.695s 14
16 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati 1.933s 12
17 Pol Espargaro KTM 1.988s 12
18 Thomas Luthi MVDS Honda 2.085s 13
19 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 Yamaha 2.201s 11
20 Bradley Smith KTM 2.340s 11
21 Xavier Simeon Avintia Ducati 2.455s 14
22 Karel Abraham Aspar Ducati 2.558s 12
23 Alvaro Bautista Aspar Ducati 2.618s 15
24 Franco Morbidelli MVDS Honda 2.724s 12

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