until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Aprilia’s Espargaro tops Valencia FP3, big crash for brother Pol

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro was quickest in the third MotoGP practice session at Valencia, as his brother Pol suffered a violent crash.

Key moments:

> Pol Espargaro banged up after big highside

> Brother Aleix pips Miller to top spot

> Friday struggler Quartararo sneaks into Q2

> As does retiring Rossi

Joan Mir was the first rider to dip below the Friday benchmark with just over 10 minutes left in FP3, but his laptime was left in doubt due to yellow flags for the younger Espargaro’s painful fall.

The Honda man suffered a brutal-looking highside through the sweeping Turn 13 left-hander, with his RC213V left in pieces and Espargaro himself struggling to get up from the gravel after hitting the ground with his back – and ultimately having to be taken away on a stretcher.

MotoGP subsequently confirmed that he was taken to the medical centre for a check-up.

The yellow flags cleared next time around for Mir and he immediately improved to a 1m30.876s, making any lap deletion concerns irrelevant – albeit with Friday pace-setter Jack Miller then instantly finding an extra three tenths.

But the elder Espargaro – who was shown wincing at the post-crash footage of his brother in pain – went slightly quicker with a minute left to go, securing the top spot for Aprilia.

Yamaha factory rider Franco Morbidelli completed the top three behind Espargaro and Miller, while Francesco Bagnaia and Pramac’s Jorge Martin made it three Ducatis in the top five.

Mir and Takaaki Nakagami were sixth and seventh, the sole Suzuki and the sole Honda making it into Q2 automatically, followed closely by Martin’s team-mate Johann Zarco and 2020 champion Fabio Quartararo, making a slight improvement compared to a torrid Friday.

The retiring Valentino Rossi also sneaked through to Q2, narrowly outpacing the likes Alex Rins (Suzuki) and Brad Binder (KTM) with the help of a tow from his protege Bagnaia.

Maverick Vinales, the Aprilia team-mate of session-topper Espargaro, was just four tenths off on his fastest lap – but that wouldn’t have been enough for Q2, and that lap would anyway be deleted due to yellow flags for an Iker Lecuona crash at Turn 2.

Practice 3 Results

Pos Name Team Bike Gap Next Gap Leader Best Time
1 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1m30.529s
2 Jack Miller Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +0.018s +0.018s 1m30.547s
3 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.067s +0.085s 1m30.614s
4 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +0.038s +0.123s 1m30.652s
5 Jorge Martin Pramac Racing Ducati +0.062s +0.185s 1m30.714s
6 Joan Mir Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +0.048s +0.233s 1m30.762s
7 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +0.015s +0.248s 1m30.777s
8 Johann Zarco Pramac Racing Ducati +0.009s +0.257s 1m30.786s
9 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.005s +0.262s 1m30.791s
10 Valentino Rossi Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha +0.034s +0.296s 1m30.825s
11 Alex Rins Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +0.041s +0.337s 1m30.866s
12 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.027s +0.364s 1m30.893s
13 Iker Lecuona Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.219s +0.583s 1m31.112s
14 Luca Marini SKY VR46 Avintia Team Ducati +0.023s +0.606s 1m31.135s
15 Alex Marquez LCR Honda Castrol Honda +0.017s +0.623s 1m31.152s
16 Danilo Petrucci Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.065s +0.688s 1m31.217s
17 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +0.022s +0.71s 1m31.239s
18 Andrea Dovizioso Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha +0.138s +0.848s 1m31.377s
19 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.011s +0.859s 1m31.388s
20 Enea Bastianini Avintia Esponsorama Racing Ducati +0.001s +0.86s 1m31.389s
21 Pol Espargaró Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.106s +0.966s 1m31.495s
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