MotoGP

Bastianini tops FP3 to push world champion Quartararo into Q1

With FP3 being run in the daylight in windier and dustier conditions than Friday, combined time improvements were few and far between on Saturday afternoon.

Friday pacesetter Alex Rins on the Suzuki set the early pace in the session with a 1m55.562s, before Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro took over with a 1m55.016s.

Rins returned to the top of the order with a 1m54.803s, and the 2022 Suzuki continues to look impressive following a strong pre-season and opening day to the campaign.

Reigning world champion Quartararo took over top spot with a 1m54.794s on his factory Yamaha with just under 20 minutes to go.

Fellow Frenchman Johann Zarco on the Pramac Ducati – which is running the full 2022-spec engine and not the hybrid 2021/2022 version the factory team duo are using – edged ahead with a 1m54.441s.

This lap was an improvement on his best from Friday, though still only kept him in 16th on the combined order and out of a Q2 spot.

Despite conditions not being optimal in FP3, a number of riders did opt for a fresh soft tyre for a time attack at the end of the session.

Gresini Racing’s Bastianini was the first to mount a real challenge for the top 10 on his 2021-spec Ducati having ended Friday just outside of a provisional Q2 place in 11th.

The double MotoGP podium finisher went top overall with a 1m53.382s, but had that lap scrubbed for exceeding track limits at the final corner of the Losail track.

This offered Francesco Bagnaia a reprieve having been knocked into Q1 by Bastianini, with the factory Ducati rider promoted back to 10th on the combined order.

Bagnaia then put in a lap of 1m53.855s to go sixth overall and fastest on the individual FP3 timesheet.

Bastianini recovered for his final lap and shot to the top of the FP3 order with a 1m53.790s, which put him top in FP3 and fifth overall.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

But this sensationally came at the expense of Yamaha’s Quartararo, who couldn’t improve on his last lap and was dumped to 11th on the combined order.

Quartararo has only failed to go straight to Q2 from practice on four occasions in his MotoGP career.

Honda’s Pol Espargaro leaped up to second in FP3 and bagged a Q2 place in sixth overall, with Bagnaia completing the top three ahead of Quartararo on the individual FP3 timesheet.

Brad Binder on the factory team KTM was fifth in the session, but 12th overall and facing Q1 alongside Quartararo, while both Suzukis of Joan Mir and Rins have made it to Q2.

Despite a crash earlier in FP3, Franco Morbidelli did get his factory Yamaha into Q2, with Pramac’s Jorge Martin, Jack Miller on the sister factory Ducati, Aprilia’s Espargaro and Marc Marquez also progressing into Q2.

Last year’s Qatar GP winner Maverick Vinales was 18th on combined times and will join Quartararo in Q1, with the likes of KTM’s Miguel Oliveira, Zarco, RNF Racing’s Andrea Dovizioso and the rookie crop also falling into first qualifying.

The opening qualifying session of the 2022 MotoGP season gets underway at 6pm local time (3pm GMT).

Qatar MotoGP – FP3 results:


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