2014 Qatar MotoGP Friday Practice Results | Espargaro Dominates

2014 Qatar MotoGP Friday Practice Results | Espargaro Dominates
NGM Forward Racing Yamaha's Aleix Espargaro at Qatar FP3

2014 Qatar MotoGP Friday Practice Results

The Open-option riders were expected to be quick during the first free practice at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit for the opening round of 2014 MotoGP. Why? They had a three-day preseason test at the desert circuit without the Factory option riders, allowing them to get a jump on setup.

But after three practices – one Thursday and two Friday – the Factory-option riders can not gain any ground on the Open machines. And they certainly can’t gain any ground the man who led every session so far – NGM Forward Racing Yamaha’s Aleix Espargaro.

The Spaniard, who also led all the Open-option machines throughout the preseason, dominated Friday’s free practice sessions. In 2014 Qatar MotoGP FP2 earlier on Friday, he posted a best of 1:54.989, finishing over 0.3 of a second ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso (Factory backing but under Open option).

And things only got quicker during the final practice of Friday; in FP3, Espargaro posted a 1:54.773 around the 3.34-mile desert circuit containing 16 corners.

Not so surprising, the next three bikes were also Open-option machines. Pramac Racing Ducati’s Andrea Iannone followed 0.413 of a second back, Go&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista 0.467 of a second back, and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso 0.477 of a second back. Dovi, along with teammate Cal Crutchlow, were not at the Qatar preseason test with the other Open-option machines, making his time that more impressive.

The reigning MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez was the top Factory option rider, the 21-year-old Spaniard piloting his RC213V to a 1:55.446 around Losail. As Marquez recovers from a broken leg sustained in a dirt-track training incident six weeks ago, he ended Friday 0.673 off Aleix Espargaro’s time.

Though Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith suffered a huge highside at turn 5, he was able to post the sixth-quickest time, finishing 0.701 off the top time.

Two-time MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo was next. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pilot, who won the last two meetings at Losail, continues to struggle. He posted a 1:55.495, following Aleix Espargaro 0.722 of second back.

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa finished eight Friday due to his best FP2 time. Making into the top 10 – which is important for Saturday’s qualifying – Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi and LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl. These top-10 riders automatically enter Qualifying 2 on Saturday.

Pol Espargaro and the man he replaced on the Tech3 Yamaha, Cal Crutchlow, now on the Ducati Team GP14, finished 11th and 12th, respectively. Due to this, they will not automatically enter Q2. Crutchlow crashed at turn 10, but will be back on the track Saturday.

As for the Americans, Dive M7 Aspar Honda’s Nicky Hayden finished 13th, 1.584 seconds behind Aleix, and the other NGM Forward Racing Yamaha rider, Colin Edwards, 14th, 1.6 seconds back.

The 23-rider grid will return to Losail Saturday for another Free Practice Session ahead of qualifying.

2014 Qatar MotoGP Free Practice 3 Results:

141Aleix ESPARGAROSPANGM Forward RacingForward Yamaha325.61’54.773
229Andrea IANNONEITAPramac RacingDucati341.21’55.1860.413 / 0.413
319Alvaro BAUTISTASPAGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda341.01’55.2400.467 / 0.054
44Andrea DOVIZIOSOITADucati TeamDucati342.31’55.2500.477 / 0.010
593Marc MARQUEZSPARepsol Honda TeamHonda340.31’55.4460.673 / 0.196
638Bradley SMITHGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha335.21’55.4740.701 / 0.028
799Jorge LORENZOSPAMovistar Yamaha MotoGPYamaha334.21’55.4950.722 / 0.021
86Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda338.41’55.6760.903 / 0.181
946Valentino ROSSIITAMovistar Yamaha MotoGPYamaha336.41’55.7020.929 / 0.026
1026Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda339.81’55.7540.981 / 0.052
1144Pol ESPARGAROSPAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha334.51’55.7931.020 / 0.039
1235Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRDucati TeamDucati338.01’56.0131.240 / 0.220
1369Nicky HAYDENUSADrive M7 AsparHonda324.01’56.3571.584 / 0.344
145Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Forward RacingForward Yamaha324.41’56.3731.600 / 0.016
1568Yonny HERNANDEZCOLEnergy T.I. Pramac RacingDucati331.01’56.6331.860 / 0.260
167Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNDrive M7 AsparHonda330.81’56.9392.166 / 0.306
1745Scott REDDINGGBRGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda322.71’56.9972.224 / 0.058
1817Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingHonda324.51’57.3452.572 / 0.348
1923Broc PARKESAUSPaul Bird MotorsportPBM314.51’57.6652.892 / 0.320
2063Mike DI MEGLIOFRAAvintia RacingAvintia322.01’58.2043.431 / 0.539
218Hector BARBERASPAAvintia RacingAvintia322.71’58.2193.446 / 0.015
2270Michael LAVERTYGBRPaul Bird MotorsportPBM317.31’58.3783.605 / 0.159
239Danilo PETRUCCIITAIodaRacing ProjectART321.01’58.6513.878 / 0.273