The rain gods may have forgiven the lightweight class but found some more enjoyment taunting their MotoGP colleagues, big drops of rain falling just as the premier class riders left the pitlane for the first time. After a slow procession around the track, they all returned to their garages, waiting for the conditions to settle.
About ten minutes later, Johann Zarco was the first to show off wet weather rubber, the rain promptly stopping as the majority of riders followed his example. While waiting for the surface to dry, the track was a hive of activity, even the injured Valentino Rossi risking a look in the tricky conditions.
Relishing the weather, Jack Miller was an early leader on a drenched circuit, before Marc Marquez took over, the Honda duo nearly a second faster than the rest. After the two went back to their garages to wait for a late shot at slicks, Zarco got into the mix to split the Hondas at the front. While most teams were tinkering in the garage, the Frenchman stayed out to post the most laps in the session.
The eagerly awaited dry time never came, with more spits of rain hitting the track in the final ten minutes, which meant another run on rain tyres. Just as Dani Pedrosa got within touching distance of the leaders, his teammate put another six tenths of a second into the pursuers. The Honda veteran swiftly cut the gap to half, only Zarco and Miller within a second of the leader.
Marquez improved further to end the session first, nearly half a second ahead of teammate Pedrosa, with Zarco in third breaking the Honda trio and pushing Miller into fourth spot. A second down on the world championship leader was KTM’s rapid test rider Mika Kallio, the Finn ahead of Jorge Lorenzo by a tenth of a second in a standout performance for the Austrian team. Lorenzo was the lead Ducati in sixth spot, ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci.
The top ten was completed by former teammates Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso, the Ducati man being the final rider within two seconds of his main title rival. Scott Redding and Sam Lowes had good showings in the wet conditions, just outside the top ten.
The factory Yamahas did not have the best morning at the office, Rossi at least getting a chance to rest his leg, posting slightly fewer laps and finishing eighteenth. If the Italian was unlucky with the conditions and did not want to take unnecessary risk, teammate Maverick Viñales did not look any more willing, the Spaniard three hundredths of a second down on Rossi and into twentieth place.