MotoGP Mugello: Marquez fastest as Vinales misses Q2
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez set the fastest-ever lap of Mugello to lead the final free practice while title rival Maverick Vinales slumped to 11th and will have to go through qualifying one alongside Dani Pedrosa this afternoon.
In the usual late-session time attack, Marquez set a 1’46.439 to go 0.050s quicker than Andrea Iannone’s outright record set in 2015 when he was a Ducati man using Michelin’s soft rear mated to a medium front. The entire top ten bar Jorge Lorenzo used the same combination with the Spaniard electing to use a soft front too.
Marquez was shadowed by hometown favourite Valentino Rossi, whose last lap of 1’46.775 was enough for second and he benefitted from a slipstream out of the last corner from protege Franco Morbidelli’s RC213V. Rossi’s lap was quick enough to demote auld enemy Lorenzo to third place.
The departing Ducati man has run the big aero package all weekend as it provides him with more braking stability into turn one and he is happy with the 11km/h speed deficit the drag induces.
Iannone’s best from yesterday allowed him to remain in fourth place while a late charge from Johann Zarco saw the Frenchman hop up to fifth place on a 1’46.863 to end 0.424s off the pace.
Danilo Petrucci again marked Ducati’s card at their home race, finishing in sixth place with Britain’s Cal Crutchlow in seventh. Morbidelli was the quickest rookie in eighth and a screen-biter from Alex Rins saw him jump to ninth at the chequered flag which pushed Vinales out of the top ten.
Andrea Dovizioso put on the aero package for this session and scraped into qualifying two automatically, ending in tenth place.
Vinales’ modified Movistar Yamaha M1 did not serve him well in third practice as he ended up in 11th. The Spaniard has shortened the swingarm on his bike to induce more weight transer to the rear wheel for more grip but it didn’t pay off and he was slower than yesterday’s FP3 time.
Jack Miller crashed at Correntaio early doors but bounced back to set the fourth quickest time but gradually slipped down the order to 12th and miss Q2 by 0.048s. Pedrosa is struggling at Mugello and finished almost eight-tenths off the pace in 13th, just ahead of Aleix Espargaro. Taka Nakagami completed the top 15.
It was another tough morning for the remaining Brits with Scott Redding in 21st and Bradley Smith 23rd out of 24 participants.