Favourites all looking strong following FP3


By and large morning practice continued to form with Casey Stoner and Nico Terol leading the way in the MotoGP, Moto2 and 125cc classes but there was a slight blip in Moto2 with championship leader Stefan Bradl second fastest..

Stoner enjoyed a comfortable advantage in yesterday’s dry session but Marco Simoncelli closed the gap to just over 0.2s after another strong showing from the Italian. Ben Spies, fresh from his first podium as a factory rider, looked strong once more to set the third fastest time to finish the session just ahead of his teammate, Jorge Lorenzo.

The Yamaha riders are struggling for speed this weekend and are lagging some way of the pace of the Hondas. With qualifying only two hours away it remains to be seen if the team can find the necessary speed otherwise Stoner and Simoncelli could be left to fight it out for the victory on Sunday.

Cal Crutchlow continued his fine Friday form with the fifth fastest time to delight the home crowd and give reason for optimism for another strong performance in qualifying. The Englishman has looked incredibly comfortable aboard his Tech 3 Yamaha, in both the wet and the dry and as a result he is not to be underestimated this weekend,

Andrea Dovizioso was the final rider within a second of Stoner and was almost one second faster than Nicky Hayden at the end of the session. Hayden enjoyed a strong performance yesterday but the American slipped backwards in FP3. His compatriot Colin Edwards showed the dogged grit and determination for which he is famed when he set the tenth fastest time. The Tech 3 rider broke his collarbone at the last race.

Valentino Rossi continues to languish at the bottom of the timesheets with the nine times world champion ending the session over three seconds off the pace in 14th position. It is possible that Rossi and his Ducati mechanics are working towards developing the bike for later in the year and letting Hayden complete the majority of setup work but it is a risky strategy to adapt.

In Moto2 reigning 125cc world champion, Marc Marquez, ended the session fastest with a time set late in the session to lead the way by over one third of a second from Bradl with Scott Redding and Randy Krummenacher also within one second.

Redding has looked as aggressive as ever this weekend and will be in the thick of things during tomorrow’s race but the performances of Marquez and Krummenacher are very encouraging. The rookies have gained speed throughout the season thus far and while Marquez was expected to challenge at the front of the field Krummenacher was seen as a rider that might need time to adjust to the intermediate class. That predication will need to be reassessed if he can continue this form and qualify at the front of the field.

Michelle Pirro was fifth fastest with the former World Supersport rider once again outpacing Yuki Takahashi this morning. Takahashi ended the session 18th fastest and with lotes of question marks hanging over his potential for this weekend. The Gresini rider has been in great form this season and is not to be underestimated but his heavy crash in Barcelona may have caused him a small injury that is hampering his progress. As a result it will be important to keep an eye on him during qualifying.

In the 125cc class championship leader Nico Terol continues to dominate proceedings with the Aspar riding regaining his position as pacesetter this morning. Terol comfortably led the way by 0.6s from Maverick Vinales who continues to impress everyone in his rookie season. The Spanish youngster is riding very comfortably and looks to have pace in hand so it not be a surprise to see him much closer to Terol in qualifying.

Ajo Derbi teammates Efren Vazquez and Johann Zarco were third and fourth but were one second off the pace. Zarco topped both sessions yesterday but the Frenchman will be left scratching his head after seeing Terol open such a cushion overnight. Unbelievably Sandro Cortese was the only other rider within two seconds of Terol with the German fifth fastest ahead of Sergio Gadea, Jonas Folver and Hector Faubel.

Danny Kent and Danny Webb gave the home fans reason to cheer with the tenth and 12th fastest times respectively.

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