The last playtime for the premier class before things got serious started off with some uncharacteristic tyre choices in the field. Jorge Lorenzo on the soft was no surprise though, nor was his excellent pace on it, so the only choice the Spaniard needed to make was between the two aero fairings. As the Spaniard swapped to the less sizeable version, he looked unthreatened at the top of the timesheets – until the final minute that is, when Andrea Iannone put in a new soft rear and snuck ahead by eight hundredths of a second. Despite the rapid lap time, the Italian could not quite match the Spaniard’s scary race pace.
In a rare sight, Marc Marquez had a first run on a used soft rear before switching to hards to finally break into the 1:39s and steadily climb into third – steadily on the timesheets, not so much on track. The Spaniard might not have snatched top honours but he did steal the limelight with a sublime double save on his final lap.
Maverick Viñales was also there or thereabouts on the soft rubber, finishing the session with similar pace to Marquez and two tenths down on the leader. Andrea Dovizioso set an early benchmark good enough for fifth, while Tito Rabat continued an excellent weekend in sixth. Valentino Rossi did not seem to like the soft tyre as much as his teammate and ended up seventh after his switch to mediums.
Danilo Petrucci was nearly six tenths slower than his leading compatriot, with top rookie Hafizh Syahrin as high as third in the session before being pushed back to ninth. Dani Pedrosa closed the top ten, with Cal Crutchlow and Johann Zarco close behind.