2021 Valencia MotoGP FP3 Result: An Espargaro Rollercoaster

A sunny albeit still chilly Valencia set up the scene for the premier class fight for Q2 places and there were quite a few stories to tell. The first was about Aprilia working some magic overnight and allowing Aleix Espargaro to grab the FP3 headlines, the Spaniard starting and ending the session in the lead. Having been fast from the start on Friday, the Ducatis were in no rush early on, but Jack Miller reclaimed second in the final attack, with Pecco Bagnaia also securing fourth. Although still struggling a bit more, Yamaha had some good news come their way too, Franco Morbidelli progressing to third in the closing stages of FP3, ahead of Bagnaia and Jorge Martin. Joan Mir was the lead Suzuki in sixth place and only two tenths off the lead.

Luck seemed to have run out by the time it got to the Repsol Honda garage, their sole rider this weekend suffering a pretty vicious high-side at turn 13 and getting stretchered off to the medical centre. In his absence, Takaaki Nakagami flew the flag for Honda in 7th place, while Pol Espargaro dropped down the combined timesheets to 13th but his participation in the rest of the weekend seems uncertain at this point. In happier camps, Johann Zarco added a fourth Ducati to Q2 with 8th place.

Fabio Quartararo did not seem all that happy throughout the session but did manage to hang onto 9th position, while the final top 10 place was a feel-good story for the predominantly yellow stands, Valentino Rossi joining Q2 for one final time. Alex Rins and Brad Binder did their best to prevent that but came half a tenth short and will join the Q1 line-up, despite being only three tenths off top spot. Binder was the lead KTM in 12th place, ahead of Iker Lecuona, who ended the session with a crash at turn 2. Enea Bastianini closed the combined timesheets but was only 8 tenths off the lead. 

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'30.529    
2 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'30.547 0.018 0.018
3 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'30.614 0.085 0.067
4 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'30.652 0.123 0.038
5 89 Jorge Martin Ducati 1'30.714 0.185 0.062
6 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'30.762 0.233 0.048
7 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'30.777 0.248 0.015
8 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'30.786 0.257 0.009
9 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'30.791 0.262 0.005
10 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'30.825 0.296 0.034
11 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1'30.866 0.337 0.041
12 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'30.893 0.364 0.027
13 27 Iker Lecuona KTM 1'31.112 0.583 0.219
14 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1'31.135 0.606 0.023
15 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'31.152 0.623 0.017
16 9 Danilo Petrucci KTM 1'31.217 0.688 0.065
17 12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia 1'31.239 0.710 0.022
18 4 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 1'31.377 0.848 0.138
19 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'31.388 0.859 0.011
20 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'31.389 0.860 0.001
21 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 1'31.495 0.966 0.106
Round Number: 
18
2021
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Comments

Gee, I've never been a big Rossi fan, but this result brought a tear to my eye. Best of luck. And if every single racer pulled over on the last lap so he could get #200, I'd be ok w/that.