Marc Marquez sent a friendly reminder to Maverick Vinales and the rest of the field on Saturday that his second-place showing in FP2 was a simple setback and not a trend at the Circuit of the Americas track in Texas. Marquez's 2'05.478 beat Cal Crutchlow's best lap by nearly two seconds in mixed conditions that saw the field start the session on rain tires and end it on slicks.
Valentino Rossi, who appears to be getting increasingly happy with his M1 Yamaha as the season progresses, finished the session third but well off the leader's pace. For most of the paddock, there wasn't much to be learned -- or gained -- from FP4 as the track conditions remained varied from the morning deluge that canceled FP3 in all classes. Aditionally, Sunday's race is expected to be dry so there wasn't much to be learned about race setup.
For the first half of the session, with puddles remaining on the 5.5 km circuit, riders remained on medium-compound wet tires that limited lap times to the 2'16s -- or a little more than 10 seconds from the top dry-track lap times from the previous day. But with seven minutes left in the session as the track became increasingly dry, riders began to pit and change to full slicks. Immediately, lap times began to drop into the 2'06 range.
But not every rider could approach the dry lap times even late in the session. With a little more than a minute left, eight seconds separated positions 1 through 20. Then on his final lap, Marquez showed exactly how race-ready the track was with his 2'05.478.