All the weather worries of Friday proved unfounded, the MotoGP class joining the track in a lukewarm morning offering forty-five minutes of opportunities to ensure a direct Q2 spot.
Marc Marquez used that time to sample the hard rear tyre and managed consecutive improvements of his personal best time to climb up the overall timesheets and lead FP3. The Spaniard set a series of mid to high 1:24s on the tyre, before switching to some new rubber in the final ten minutes. That helped the Honda rider improve further, Marquez putting almost half a second into his pursuers on his final lap.
Johann Zarco had set the benchmark to beat for Marquez and had to make do with second position, although the Frenchman could match the world championship leader for pace, while on the medium rear tyre.
Last year’s winner Andrea Iannone was one of the first riders to tackle the Ring on new soft tyres and climbed steadily into an impressive top three position. Jorge Lorenzo proved to be the top Ducati in the session, donning his new fiery red helmet and scoring fourth position.
After suffering from a suspected flu on Friday, Valentino Rossi had a better morning this time around and even sampled the new Yamaha aerodynamic fairing tested in Brno. The appendage assisted him in getting back into the top ten on combined standings early into the session, the Italian able to maintain his position in the final shoot-out and finish the morning fifth.
Teammate Maverick Viñales had some off-road excursions on his fast laps but a sixth place ensured his Q2 passage without any worries. Places seven and eight went to a surprising duo, Loris Baz and Karel Abraham sneaking into the top ten and grabbing a direct Q2 ticket. Karel Abraham benefited from some luxury guides around the Ring, first in Valentino Rossi and then Marc Marquez.
After crinkling his Honda early in the session, Cal Crutchlow salvaged the final Q2 spot after finishing ninth in FP3. Scott Redding was tenth in the session but eleventh overall, as Andrea Dovizioso’s Friday benchmark kept him sixth on combined times. As opposed to the world champion, Dovizioso was keen on the soft rear tyre and spent all session on both used and new versions of the rubber, failing to improve in the final shoot-out and finishing the morning sixteenth.
Less lucky was Dani Pedrosa, the Spaniard showing good speed throughout practice only to find himself in fourteenth position by the flag and with the prospect of fighting Danilo Petrucci, Jonas Folger, Alvaro Bautista and Aleix Espargaro of a Q2 spot.