PHOTOGRAPHY BY GOLD & GOOSE
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, AUG. 17 - An eventful final practice session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway saw Marc Marquez keep his rightful spot at the top of the timesheets as the young Spaniard continues to up the ante and close in on the outright lap record, which will almost certainly be broken in this afternoon’s final qualifying session.
The session, which featured Stefan Bradl at the top for most of the session, unfortunately ended with Pramac Ducati’s Ben Spies in the medical center with an injured shoulder. Spies crashed in turn four early in the session and landed heavily on his left shoulder. Fortunately, it’s not the same shoulder that has kept the Texan out for the majority of the 2013 MotoGP season.
Marquez continues to be the man of the moment as he’s now lead every single session at IMS this weekend. He took over from Bradl at the top of the final free practice session with some four and a half minutes to go with a lap of 1:38.844 – just .031 of a second off Dani Pedrosa’s qualifying time from last year’s race here.
Once Marquez hit the top, the focus shifted to who would make the cut into the top 10 that would put them directly into the second qualifying session. When Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Ianone jumped to ninth in the closing minutes, it bumped Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith down to 11th with Nicky Hayden on the bubble in 10th. Then Smith went quicker and moved to eighth and suddenly Hayden was out of the top 10 and in trouble. The Kentuckian, however, recovered and ripped off his best lap of the weekend – a 1:39.889 – on his final lap to move to 10th and a direct transfer to this afternoon’s Q2 session. Iannone ended up just .017 of a second out of the top 10.
Between Hayden and Marquez came Bradl in second, the German impressing as he lowered his lap times to end up with a 1:39.125. That was some .3 of a second faster than Cal Crutchlow, the Brit ending up third heading into this afternoon’s qualifying finale.
Alvaro Bautista surprised by putting the Go&Fun Honda into fourth, one spot better than Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa – the defending race champion ending up fifth in the session.
Sixth went to World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, fractions ahead of his teammate Valentino Rossi.
Smith ended up eight with the two factory Ducati’s ninth and 10th – ridden by Andrea Dovizioso and Hayden, respectively.
Spies’ didn’t match his best lap from yesterday and was 14th fastest prior to crashing out and Colin Edwards ended up 16th.
Free Practice 3 Results
2013 Red Bull Indy Grand Prix
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1:38.844
2. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1:39.125
3. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:39.441
4. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1:39.538
5. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:39.569
6. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:39.597
7. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:39.640
8. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1:39.765
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:39.812
10. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:39.889