Misano welcomed the premier class qualifying day with a damp surface attempting to dry up despite the modest temperatures. The likes of Dani Pedrosa, Johann Zarco and Alvaro Bautista provided the early entertainment as they were sampling the conditions on slick rubber but the real action only started once their times were deemed relevant enough for their colleagues to join in for the final 20 minutes.
With the morning’s benchmark being three seconds slower than Friday’s for the final third of the session, it looked unlikely for anyone to challenge the top ten combined standings in the remaining time but Marc Marquez was determined to at least snatch a headline. The Spaniard revelled in the mixed conditions and flew almost two seconds ahead of the opposition but things started to heat up in the very last couple of minutes, when Zarco got close to challenging the final Q2 positions. The Frenchman’s very last lap demoted Andrea Iannone, closely after Jack Miller broke more local hearts by pushing Franco Morbidelli out of the top ten. In his valiant attempt, Zarco also snatched the top of the timesheets in FP3, marginally faster than Miller in second.
Confident in their pace at the track, Ducati were in no hurry to join the action but Andrea Dovizioso’s late handful of laps helped him into third position, half a second off the leader. Despite his early heroics, Marquez dropped to fourth once he turned his focus on some used rubber runs, half a tenth ahead of Cal Crutchlow and another two tenths on Alex Rins. Morbidelli might have been seventh in the session but was ultimately helpless in defending his Q2 position. Pedrosa, Hafizh Syahrin and Maverick Viñales completed the top ten, almost a second slower than Zarco.
Despite the slow day at the office for Danilo Petrucci in 15th and Valentino Rossi in 20th, both had their top ten positions ensured on the combined standings, together with Dovizioso, Lorenzo, Crutchlow, Viñales, Marquez, Rins and the two new additions in Zarco and Miller. Second on the combined practice times, Lorenzo was not even tempted to test the conditions and only hit the track for some practice starts.
Unable to defend their positions, Iannone and Morbidelli will have to fight the likes of Pedrosa, Bautista and Michele Pirro for the final Q2 tickets later today.