Marquez remains fastest despite Yamaha challenge

Alcañiz (Spain) (AFP) –


Three Yamahas outpaced Marc Marquez in the second practice session for the Aragon GP on Friday but the Spaniard remained fastest because of his time in the morning session.

Maverick Vinales, Valentino Rossi and Fabio Quartararo were the quickest in the afternoon but none of these three riders was able to approach Marquez's morning time of 1min 46.689sec.

Vinales set the best afternoon time in 1:48.014, 0.057sec ahead of factory Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi. With Quartararo, who rides for a Yamaha satellite team, 0.103sec slower.

If the forecast rain arrives on Saturday morning for the third practice session, it could make it more difficult for the others to stop Honda's Marquez, the five-time world champion, taking pole position.

Apart from Marquez, who escaped a crash unscathed, all the other riders improved their times in the afternoon, with fellow Spaniard Pol Espargaro putting his KTM in fifth.

Marquez leads Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati by 93 points with six races left to run. The Italian only had the eighth best combined time in the first two practice sessions.

The riders with the ten fastest times in the first three free practice sessions participate directly in Saturday's qualifying session (Q2), which determines the order of the top 12 places on the starting grid for the race on Sunday at 13:00 local time (1100 GMT).

The other drivers must participate in a preliminary qualifying session (Q1) and the best two times are drafted for Q2.

Combined practice times

1. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda): 1 min 46.869sec, 2. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Yamaha) at 1.145, 3. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha): 1.202, 4. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha-SRT) 1.248, 5. Pol Espargaro (ESP/KTM) 1.523, 6. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati-Pramac) 1.573, 7. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Honda-LCR) 1.581, 8. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati) 1.608, 9. Joan Mir (ESP/Suzuki) 1.772, 10. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) 1.835