MotoGP Japan: Marquez fastest as Lorenzo crashes in third practice

Honda's Marc Marquez led the way in third practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, a session reigning MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo finished in Motegi's medical centre after a crash

MotoGP Japan: Marquez fastest as Lorenzo crashes in third practice

Marquez did the damage early, moving past Lorenzo's Friday benchmark with a time of 1m45.075s set eight minutes in, then improving to a 1m44.987s two laps later.

When the championship leader finished his first run, he was 0.8 seconds clear of what any other rider had managed on Saturday morning, and it was eventually good enough to finish on top.

Entering the closing minutes, Lorenzo had not improved on his Friday time but was still second in the combined order.

However, starting his final run with five minutes to go, the Spaniard was thrown from his Yamaha in a massive highside at Turn 2.

He got up gingerly and limped briefly before sitting back down and opting to leave the scene on a stretcher.

Lorenzo was then taken to the medical centre on the back of a scooter, and he dropped to fifth in the order as other riders made late gains.

Post-session, Lorenzo was flown to the nearby Utsonomiya Hospital for further checks.

Following scans on his left leg, left heel and left hand, Lorenzo was given the all clear to continue with the weekend and returned to the circuit.

LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow wound up as Marquez's closest challenger, recording a 1m45.026s lap with just over one minute remaining to finish 0.039s off top spot.

Ducati pair Andrea Dovizioso and Hector Barbera - standing in for Andrea Iannone - also improved late to finish third and fourth.

Aleix Espargaro was the best of the Suzukis in sixth place and within 0.168s of Marquez's time, ahead of team-mate Maverick Vinales who - like Lorenzo - did not improve on his Friday time during the 45 minutes.

Valentino Rossi finished eighth fastest, with Tech3 Yamaha's Pol Espargaro and Danilo Petrucci securing the final guaranteed places in the second phase of qualifying.

Petrucci crashed at Turn 7 early but ultimately denied Pramac Ducati team-mate Scott Redding an automatic Q2 berth by just 0.010s.

Aprilia's Alvaro Bautista and Yamaha wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga fell separately midway through the session on their way to 14th and 15th, while Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama was 19th in his first session after being called up to replace the injured Dani Pedrosa.

Injuree returnees Jack Miller and Bradley Smith were 17th and 20th in contrasting sessions - Marc VDS Honda's Miller crashing twice while Tech3 Yamaha's Smith made steady progress to lap 1.3s faster than he managed on Friday.

After his late crash in FP2 on Friday afternoon, Aspar Ducati rider Eugene Laverty sat out the session and will be reviewed again before the pre-qualifying FP4.

PRACTICE THREE TIMES:

Pos Rider Team Time Gap Laps
1 Marc Marquez Honda 1m44.987s - 19
2 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1m45.026s 0.039s 18
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m45.057s 0.070s 17
4 Hector Barbera Ducati 1m45.120s 0.133s 18
5 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1m45.155s 0.168s 19
6 Maverick Vinales Suzuki 1m45.284s 0.297s 18
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m45.417s 0.430s 19
8 Pol Espargaro Tech3 Yamaha 1m45.680s 0.693s 17
9 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m45.794s 0.807s 15
10 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati 1m45.844s 0.857s 18
11 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati 1m45.854s 0.867s 17
12 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 1m46.012s 1.025s 18
13 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati 1m46.236s 1.249s 19
14 Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha 1m46.807s 1.820s 15
15 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1m46.962s 1.975s 17
16 Tito Rabat Marc VDS Honda 1m47.327s 2.340s 22
17 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 1m47.522s 2.535s 19
18 Bradley Smith Tech3 Yamaha 1m47.556s 2.569s 17
19 Jack Miller Marc VDS Honda 1m48.184s 3.197s 11
20 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati 1m48.283s 3.296s 16
21 Mike Jones Avintia Ducati 1m49.071s 4.084s 17


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