Marquez makes speedy return as Vinales tops practice

Marc Marquez before Saturday's third practice . AFP/JAVIER SORIANO

World champion Marc Marquez made his remarkable return four days after surgery in Saturday’s Andalucia MotoGP third practice with Maverick Vinales setting a track record at Jerez to top the time sheets.

Marquez sat out Friday’s two opening sessions to conserve his energy for qualifying later Saturday.

The 27-year-old Honda star had been declared fit to race on Thursday despite an operation just 48 hours earlier on a broken arm sustained in a heavy crash in last Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix opener, also at Jerez.

Marquez is hoping to qualify for the second leg of the coronavirus-disrupted season later Saturday. He posted a time that left him 20th, 1.3sec behind Yamaha’s Vinales, who lowered Fabio Quartararo’s circuit record set last weekend with a time of 1min 36.584sec.

Quartararo, who became the first French MotoGP winner since 1999 when he took the delayed season-opener, posted the second quickest practice time ahead of Ducati’s Australian rider and Japan’s Takaaki Nakagami for Honda’s LCR satellite team.

Standings of the combined first three practice sessions

1. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Yamaha) 1:36.584, 2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha-SRT) at 0.059s, 3. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati-Pramac) 0.126, 4. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN/Honda-LCR) 0.258, 5. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati-Pramac) 0.263, 6. Danilo Petrucci (ITA/Ducati) 0.353, 7. Brad Binder (AFS/KTM) 0.354. 8. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) 0.404, 9. Pol Espargaro (ESP/KTM) 0.411, 10. Joan Mir (ESP/Suzuki) 0.469




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