Motor sports

In-form Bagnaia edges MotoGP leader Quartararo in San Marino practice

Misano Adriatico, Italy: Francesco Bagnaia boosted by his success in last Sunday’s Aragon MotoGP posted the fastest time of 1min 31.936sec in the third practice session for Sunday’s San Marino race.

The 24-year-old Italian was fractionally faster than France’s world championship leader Fabio Quartararo (1:31.975) who leads Bagnaia by 53 points with five races remaining.

For Quartararo the session under sun-baked skies once again displayed how much better he is in the dry than when it is raining.

Indeed the 22-year-old Yamaha rider looked set to post the fastest time until Bagnaia’s tour de force on his Ducati towards the end of the session.

There was little joy for Italian legend Valentino Rossi, the seven-time champion in the category who is due to retire at the end of the season.

The 42-year-old crashed before returning to the track but only posting the 18th fastest time in front of 23,000 adoring fans — limited in number due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rossi may have emerged unscathed but two of the Moto3 riders were not so fortunate.

Turkey’s Deniz Oncu lost control of his KTM on the bend into the finishing straight and landed heavily on the ground. The 18-year-old was taken away by ambulance although the medical team said he was conscious.

Oncu re-appeared later smiling and with his thumb raised before taking his place with the mechanics to watch the rest of the day’s procedings.

A few minutes after Oncu’s crash Honda’s Italian rider Alberto Surra clipped the back of Yuki Kunii’s bike before coming off and being pinned under his motorbike. 

The 17-year-old was conscious as he was taken away for medical tests and will undergo more on Sunday.   

Leading combined times after three practice sessions: 

1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati) 1min 31.936sec, 2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha) 1:31.975, 3. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati) 1:32.089, 4. Joan Mir (ESP/Suzuki) 1:32.136, 5. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Yamaha) 1:32.200, 6. 6. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) 1:32.307, 7. Alex Rins (ESP/Suzuki) 1:32.324, 8. Johann Zarco (FRA/Ducati-Pramac) 1:32.364, 9. Pol Espargaro (ESP/Honda) 1:32.416, 10. Jorge Martin (ESP/Ducati-Pramac) 1:32.427

Selected

13. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) 1:32.637, 18. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha-SRT) 1:33.053

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