The cloudless sky and significantly cleaner track surface meant that it took no time whatsoever for Marc Marquez to bring down Friday’s benchmark before things settled for long runs on different combinations of the soft and medium compounds almost throughout the field. Fabio Quartararo brought some excitement in the final 15 minutes with some fresh rubber helping him help himself to the first 1:39 time of the weekend and laying down the gauntlet ahead of the top ten shoothout. Alex Rins wasn’t particularly impressed and swiftly went a couple hundredths of a second faster.
The usual shootout left it a bit late to bring the excitement after a difficult five minutes for the Petronas squad brought out yellow flags, Franco Morbidelli suffering a vicious highside in turn 13 and Quartararo taking his first gentle tumble in the premier class at turn two. That left rivals with only a couple of flying laps to make a difference and to Suzuki’s joy, they failed to dethrone the leader, Rins still leading the way at the checkered flag. Despite his late tumble, Quartararo kept second position but was nowhere near as happy as Cal Crutchlow to finally see the top three in such a close field.
The factory Yamahas enjoyed some time in the sunshine, Valentino Rossi returning to the garage with a big smile on his face after a welcome fourth position, less than two tenths off the lead and three hundredths ahead of teammate Maverick Viñales. Andrea Dovizioso in sixth left it really late to claim sixth as top Ducati, with Pol Espargaro making the KTM a familiar occurrence in the top ten.
The last time Danilo Petrucci and Marc Marquez took a checkered flag so close to one another it was for the win in Mugello rather than eighth and ninth in FP3 but both riders had a less than ideal morning. The Italian was one of the last men to improve on his Friday benchmark, while Marquez didn’t quite make the best of his time attack and had some arms to wave in his teammate's direction. Meanwhile, Jorge Lorenzo made good on his promise that the trip to Japan would make a difference and managed to secure the final Q2 spot available, leaving Jack Miller, Takaaki Nakagami, Morbidelli and Joan Mir to fight off Aleix Espargaro and Pecco Bagnaia in Q1.