Motorcycling - Marquez quicker again as Rossi closes in

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez upped the MotoGP free practice ante again in Saturday's third free practice session in Argentina, dropping his laptime by two-tenths to a 1:39.171 to top the sheets again but Valentino Rossi closed the gap to less than three tenths after finding two seconds overnight.

Motorcycling - Marquez quicker again as Rossi closes in

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MotoGP Argentina: Marquez quicker again as Rossi closes in

Marquez chucked in an early 1’39.566 while the rest of the pack circulated in the 1’40s and then lapped on the hard tyre before wheeling himself back out for his last run which resulted in a 1’39.451 and then the fastest lap of the weekend so far ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session. Marquez put six 1’39s laps on the board out of a total of 19.

Rossi, meanwhile, made steady progress to end on a 1’39.458 for third place, just 0.128s behind second-placed man Dani Pedrosa, on the second Repsol bike while Jorge Lorenzo floundered around in seventh place and more than six-tenths off the pace.

Pedrosa managed three laps in the 1’39s while Rossi was limited to one. Lorenzo, however, did five so his race pace is almost equal to that of Marquez and better than both Rossi and Pedrosa.

Open class quick men Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Dovizioso put their soft tyres to good use, jumping into fourth and fifth places respectively, four and six-tenths off the pace respectively.

LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl was there or thereabouts as usual, putting in a 1’39.771 to bounce him ahead of former champion Lorenzo while Andrea Iannone, on the satellite Pramac Ducati, was a quarter of a second behind the Spaniard.

Alvaro Bautista and Pol Espargaro, who was spat over the highside of his Monster Yamaha halfay through the session and suffering an injured little finger, were the last by-rights men into qualifying two.

Bradley Smith was just edged out and will have to push through qualifying one this afternoon after finishing the session in 11th place, just ahead of Yonny Hernandez and Colin Edwards. Scott Redding finished in 15th, one place behind Nicky Hayden while Michael Laverty was 23rd.

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