The Saturday morning session started off light, teams working on race pace in the beginning, only a few riders here and there improving their Friday times early on, including Valentino Rossi, his pal Aleix Espargaro and teammate Maverick Viñales.
With eight minutes to go, the fight for a place in the top ten heated up as usual and the world championship leader was the first to put the fight talk on track and set a 1:32.4, the fastest time of the weekend so far. That meant Marc Marquez led both the session and the combined practice times.
Jorge Lorenzo was the first to reply, the world champion almost two tenths off, followed by Maverick Viñales and Pol Espargaro, but even with yet another tow from Marquez, the Tech 3 rider didn’t improve on his Friday time. Dani Pedrosa was another rider who could not improve from FP2, the Honda rider taking a harmless tumble in turn fifteen on an outlap and finishing ninth in the session. Still the Spanish trio sits pretty in the combined times, with Espargaro third, Pedrosa fourth and Viñales fifth.
Back in the Ducati camp, Michele Pirro was the session’s fastest red bike in seventh place, but ninth overall. Andrea Dovizioso’s FP2 time also grabbed him sixth in the combined times, as Andrea Iannone was declared unfit for the rest of the weekend.
Early improver Valentino Rossi dropped back to eighth in the combined times, behind Cal Crutchlow, with Pirro separating him from Aleix Espargaro in the tenth and final Q2 spot.
Towards the end of the session the heat got too much to handle and several other riders joined Pedrosa on the gravel visitors list, including Danilo Petrucci, Jack Miller, Crutchlow and Alex Lowes.
After the session, Ducati decided that Pirro will replace Iannone instead of wildcarding, which makes his FP3 time irrelevant, the Italian rider having to go through Q1 on Iannone's bike. That bumps up Alvaro Bautista in the final Q2 spot.