In an apt description of Phillip Island, half the sky ahead of the final practice session was nearly black, while the other half was marshmallows on a light blue background. Making the best of the still dry track, most riders joined the action on the soft rear tyre, with the exception of a couple Ducatis, including Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci, as well as the Yamaha trio of Valentino Rossi, Maverick Viñales and Johann Zarco.
The early part of the session belonged to the likes of Alex Rins and Jack Miller, the two sharing the top of the timesheets until the Spaniard slid out gently and the Australian got overtaken by a lot of different challengers before a name stuck for more than one lap – that name being Johann Zarco. The Frenchman’s time in the spotlight was cut short by Aleix Espargaro, whose repaired transponder showed him to still have the pace he promised on Friday.
Marc Marquez trialled both rear tyre options, starting on the soft around sixth position and switching to the medium for the final stage of the session, snatching the lead soon after. The Spaniard picked up Andrea Iannone to inadvertently show him the ropes and drag him into second position. Marquez maintained top spot to the flag and posted a short run of consistent mid 1:29s.
Zarco recovered some ground on the final few laps to climb back into second position, two tenths adrift of Marquez and pushing Iannone down to third. Aleix Espargaro got the better of brother Pol, the Aprilia and the KTM separated by seven hundredths of a second in fourth and fifth positions respectively.
Ten minutes into the session, there was a rare mistake from Andrea Dovizioso but also a very familiar-looking one, the Ducati locking the front into turn ten and going down without a warning from his used up mediums. The Italian rejoined the action in the final ten minutes of the session to save a sixth position. Cal Crutchlow was a mere five hundredths of a second behind, in seventh spot.
Maverick Viñales was slow to get up to speed but the late switch to a set of softs aided his cause and the Yamaha climbed into eighth spot, ahead of Loris Baz and Jack Miller completing the top ten. Dani Pedrosa only just missed out on the honour in eleventh position, a second adrift of his teammate in the cool conditions.
Lower down the timesheets, there were subdued performances from Valentino Rossi, who switched to the soft rear for his second attack but could only make it into fifteenth place, but also Danilo Petrucci sixteenth, ahead of a freshly injured Jorge Lorenzo.