An extra touch of sun awaited the premier class for the pre-qualifying showdown. While the usual race runs were unfolding in the early part of the session, it was only Marc Marquez who improved on his Friday time by a few tenths and led FP3 throughout, with rather scary pace. His main challenger proved to be Johann Zarco, the Frenchman also improving to get within two hundredths of a second of the world champion.
Most riders spent the morning working on the soft tyre combination and it was more of the same on the menu for the shootout in the final 10 minutes. Marquez posted the best time of the weekend in the last five minutes, while dragging Andrea Iannone behind him, both on track and on the timing screens. The Suzuki man encountered some bike trouble afterwards but his time was enough to place him third with an identical time to Zarco in second.
Friday leader Jorge Lorenzo had to settle for fourth, although the Spaniard did improve on his FP2 time. Dani Pedrosa did not go faster than Friday and was ninth in the session but his best time from Friday was sufficient for fifth place in the combined standings. On the other hand, Alex Rins improved by almost a second overnight and will join his teammate in Q2 though a fifth place in FP3 and a sixth overall.
Michele Pirro was the second Ducati across the line in sixth position, the Italian also ensuring a Q2 ticket. Title contender Andrea Dovizioso was another of only a handful of riders who did not improve their time from Friday to finish sixteenth in FP3 but the Italian’s eighth place overall will see him head out in Q2 as well.
Jack Miller snuck into ninth place on combined standings, while the final Q2 ticket went to the forever surprising Valentino Rossi, the Yamaha man finding some speed on his final few laps to deny Aleix Espargaro. The Spaniard was on track to improve as well when he crashed out in turn ten on his last lap.
The factory Yamahas were on a mission to cut their workload for the afternoon by snatching a direct Q2 spot but the mission was only half successful, Maverick Viñales only fourteenth overall, over a second slower than Marquez. He will join the likes of Cal Crutchlow, Danilo Petrucci and the Espargaro brothers in the Q1 party.
|25||60||Michael VAN DER MARK||Yamaha||1'32.825||2.570||0.021|