The pleasantly warm afternoon outing for the premier class started like many premier class sessions start, with Marc Marquez at the top of the standings. The world champion established an early gap of over a second but then took a rare (of late) tumble at Vale, allowing rivals some time to catch up. Success was limited and an unharmed Marquez resumed his assault with eighth tenths in his pocket.
The gap kept steadily coming down but the real challenge only came with a mini shootout for the final five minutes. Marquez didn’t seem interested at first, trying on a new hard rear tyre and metaphorically poking Alex Rins in the back but then saw the threat coming from literally everywhere on the timesheets and swiftly posted his best time of the day. Rivals were keen to do something about it but found themselves outside track limits one too many times. Fabio Quartararo looked really fast throughout the session and had two opportunities to take the lead in the late time attack but first his fastest time was cancelled and then he lost another excellent last lap after a mistake in sector four. The Frenchman protested the decision to have his time cancelled for such a marginal infraction and a review of evidence reinstated his top time and robbed Marquez of the lap record.
Maverick Vinales avoided too many off track excursions but still came half a second short of top spot. Teammate Valentino Rossi shared a similar story to Quartararo's, a very slight outing at turn six seeing his fastest top-10-worthy time cancelled and the Italian dropped to 17th position. Once his time was reinstated after the checkered flag, Rossi rejoined the top four and secured a provisional Q2 position.
Cal Crutchlow had a nice afternoon, fifth in FP3 and with not too shabby pace on hard tyres. Former teammate Andrea Dovizioso’s day was more up and down, the Italian eight tenths off the leader in sixth but with a generous set of laps scrubbed off the timesheets for track limits infringements. Franco Morbidelli and Miguel Oliveira enjoyed some time in the limelight from seventh and eighth positions, while Jack Miller left it late to make an impression in ninth spot.
Danilo Petrucci snatched the final top ten position, pushing Takaaki Nakagami, Aleix Espargaro and Pol Espargaro outside of provisional Q2 places.