The cloud cover kept a brisk fifteen degrees around the track for the morning session, the riders taking their time in working out race pace and tyre wear. Things looked pretty tame until the final ten minutes, the Suzukis being the main improvers up to that point. But not even a consistently fast Maverick Viñales could keep Marc Marquez away from the top stop, despite a late attempt that got him as close as three thousands of a second to the world championship leader.
The two Spaniards were the only riders to set times into the 2:00s, although Andrea Iannone in third got pretty close. The Italian almost missed the final shootout because of a crash at the eventful turn twelve with eight minutes to go, his top ten spot never in doubt due to his competitive Friday time. The Ducati rider still took his tattered leathers back on track to improve his time once more.
Cal Crutchlow had another good day at home, the LCR rider finishing fifth, almost three tenths off the leader. Another two tenths back was Jorge Lorenzo, the world champion using the new swingarm to edge ahead of Scott Redding in sixth position.
A low-key session for Andrea Dovizioso saw him finish down in seven, closely followed by Dani Pedrosa, the Honda rider sneaking into the top ten as he took the checkered flag. Aleix Espargaro had been second for a while but eventually finished eight tenths down on his teammate, in ninth position. The last top ten survivor proved to be Valentino Rossi, the Italian only just keeping his Q2 spot by a tenth ahead of Pol Espargaro.
But the toughest morning was over at Aprilia, a mechanical for Bradl and a spectacularly long slide through turn twelve for Bautista forcing them to miss out on much of the session.