Motegi, Japan

2018 Motegi MotoGP Saturday Round Up: A Costly Mistake, Marquez vs Dovi Again, And The Split In Yamaha

Qualifying is a tricky business at the best of times. Having qualifying just half an hour after FP4 – that is, if you don't have to pass through Q1 – makes it even more complicated. That final session of practice is the only chance to work on setup without worrying about getting through to Q2 – and in my book, makes it the most interesting session of practice all weekend. But that also means that if you want to compare two different setups, FP4 is the session you do it. After FP4, you have thirty minutes to get two bikes ready for qualifying, with identical setups.

There is little room for error. Should you, say, crash in FP4 on the bike with your preferred setup, as Marc Márquez did at Motegi, then it makes qualifying complicated. Even if you get the bike back to the pits quickly, your team probably won't be able to get the bike back ready to race in time for the start of Q2. And if your second bike uses a very different setup – some combination of a different rear link, a different offset, different rear shock, say – then your team might not have time to change it all back again to the way you want it.

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2018 Motegi MotoGP FP4 Result: Honda Snatch One Back

Dark clouds were still gathering around the track but posted only fleeting concern to the riders heading out for the final practice outing. Bright sunshine showed them the way to the line and the one to find the fastest line was predictably but for the first time this weekend Marc Marquez. The Spaniard posted consistently fast mid 1:45s on medium rubber and kept the lead at the top of the timesheets despite a late tumble at turn 7 writing off one machine for the upcoming Q2 session.

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2018 Motegi Moto2 FP3 Result: Quartararo Flies in the Dry

With 10 minutes left in FP3 Saturday at the Motegi circuit, Fabio Quartararo seized control of the timesheet with a 1'51.293 that put him at the top for the rest of the dry, sunny session. The fast lap topped Miguel Oliveira's FP3-leading time by four-tenths of a second and it continued Quartararo's late-season surge.

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2018 Motegi MotoGP FP3 Result: Dovizioso Locked In

Andrea Dovizioso, winner here in Japan last year, seems ready for a redux in 2018. The factory Ducati rider and second-place holder in the championship finished the third dry practice in the same way he finished the first: the top of the timesheet. 

Dovizioso's llate charge to a 1'45.107 at the Motegi circuit in Japan on Saturday put him just clear of second-fastest Cal Crutchlow but left him almost two-tenths of a second in front of championship leader Marc Marquez (4th). Johan Zarco continued a strong weekend as the top Yamaha in third.

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