While the fans were heating up like a piece of toast, from both the temperatures and seeing Valentino Rossi on top, the riders were trying on some interesting tyre combinations – from Zarco on his beloved soft front to Marquez, unusually, on the medium and Pedrosa, Rossi and Vinales on the hard.
With all the focus on race pace, it was Rossi who stayed on top up until the very last minute when Zarco blasted past to grab the limelight. Just as the Frenchman took over his lead, Rossi crashed out harmlessly in turn twelve.
Marc Marquez’s weekend was going a bit too calm for his liking as well, so he opened FP4 with two big saves and an equally noteworthy display of his dirt track talents through the gravel trap. That meant he did not post a significant time until the second half of the session and, once he switched to a hard front tyre, the world champion climbed into third.
Alvaro Bautista was once again mixing it with the factory boys in fourth position, followed by Michelle Pirro as the top factory Ducati and Jonas Folger’s Yamaha in sixth.
Andrea Dovizioso, Maverick Vinales and Jorge Lorenzo completed the top nine, although all three men were less than three tenths of a second down on Zarco, while the top seventeen was covered by one second.