Mission number one for the premier class in their final practice session was for someone to snatch a headline off Marc Marquez and it looked like mission impossible until Top Gun put in some new soft rubber for the final couple of minutes of FP4. Maverick Viñales ended his session with a mini qualifying run that put him at the top by one hundredth of a second ahead of Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian also sampled a new medium rear for the final couple of laps and trailed the Yamaha man, demoting Marquez to third.
The world champion had been leading proceedings until the final couple of minutes and used the time to have a look at both the medium and the soft rear tyres. Despite his main rivals getting the best of him on the timesheets, Marquez continued to be one step ahead on race pace, regardless of the tyres he was running. Much like Dovizioso, Fabio Quartararo in fourth also seemed to favour the medium-soft combination, while the factory Yamahas preferred all mediums but all of them used their rubber to post mid to high 1:24, as opposed to Marquez’s low 1:24s.
There was nothing wrong with Pol Espargaro’s speed either, the KTM rider climbing into fifth, very narrowly ahead of Jack Miller and Danilo Petrucci – the two Ducati men showing impressive consistency on long runs as well. Alex Rins, Miguel Oliveira and Franco Morbidelli rounded out the top ten, six tenths off the leader. Meanwhile, the likes of Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi were struggling to even enter 1:24 territory and finished the session 15th and 16th.