Green light, Marquez unleashed, business as usual. The Repsol Honda man had a pretty standard session, jumping to the top of the timesheets right away, sliding out in turn 11 halfway through the session and then resuming action on a used hard rear tyre to post an even faster time. The Spaniard would’ve had the perfect day if Andrea Iannone had not put on new tyres at the right time to snatch one of the rare sessions held at the circuit not to be topped by the reigning world champion. But rather than being a one hit wonder, the Italian looked like a consistent challenger throughout the day.
Marquez settled for second by five hundredths of a second, with the confidence of a man who knows he’s got another half a second in a pair of new softs. Maverick Viñales has his own reason to rejoice as his Yamaha also showed good pace to finish third in the session, while having a good look at the medium tyre combination. The Spaniard was flanked by teammate Valentino Rossi in fourth position, the Italian overcoming a bit of a scare in turn 16 to finish three tenths down on the leader.
Cal Crutchlow in fifth position was the last man to post a time within half a second of Iannone in his final time attack, with Alex Rins adding another Suzuki in sixth place, over eight tenths down on his teammate. Jorge Lorenzo led the charge for Ducati from seventh position, with Andrea Dovizioso appearing to struggle quite far back in the early part of the session, only to bounce back to eighth position on new tyres.
The top ten was completed by Aleix Espargaro and Dani Pedrosa, both a little over a second behind the leader. Pedrosa’s final run, probably fuelled by painkillers and bravery, might have spared him some track time in case FP3 is as wet as advertised and the top ten positions end up coming with a Q2 ticket. A few of the men who will be hoping for that prediction to turn around include Danilo Petrucci in 11th, Johann Zarco in 13th and Jack Miller in 14th position.