The Aprilia star is hunted by a trio of Ducatis in FP3 with Quartararo and Bagnaia safely into Q2
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) heads into qualifying at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets after setting a blockbuster 1:58.254 in FP3, but it’s tight at the summit. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) are inside the top three and sit just 0.028s and 0.078s behind the Spaniard respectively.
A typically thrilling end to FP3
Raul Fernandez (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) were the only two riders to improve their Friday efforts in the opening 25 minutes of FP3, but heading into the closing 20 minutes, soft rear tyres were being fitted – and the time attacks were inbound.
The Aprilia Racing duo of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales were the first big movers. The Spaniards exchanged fastest laps with 15 minutes to go, Viñales 0.096s ahead of Espargaro. But on his second time attack lap, Espargaro set a blistering 1:58.254 to move 0.345s clear of Viñales and anyone else. Miller, shadowing Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), cut Espargaro’s advantage down to 0.078s to move into P2, while Quartararo sat P4 after improving his best time.
After missing out on a top 10 on Friday, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) slotted into P7 with 10 minutes left on the stopwatch, before Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) rose to P3 to sit within a tenth of Espargaro. Pecco, after a few hand gestures were exchanged with Aleix Espargaro after the Ducati man was forced to sit up on a fast lap, went again and made sure he was safe in P6. Zarco then crashed unhurt at Turn 13 while on a potentially record-breaking lap, bringing out the yellow flags, but the Frenchman was safely inside the top 10.
Martin’s late lap moved him up to second place to make it four riders within a second heading into qualifying, Zarco is the third rider within a tenth of Espargaro in P4, with fifth place Viñales 0.321s away from his teammate’s time. Quartararo has to settle for P6, three tenths shy of his closest title rival, with Pecco sitting in P7 just 0.006s down on Quartararo. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) are the other automatic Q2 qualifiers in P8, P9 and P10.
Make sure you tune into qualifying at 14:10 local time (GMT+1)!
Top 10 combined:
1. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) – 1:58.254
2. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.028
3. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.078
4. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.090
5. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.321
6. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 0.328
7. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.371
8. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.403
9. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.409
10. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.475