Not unusual for an FP3 session, all eyes were on Marc Marquez but this time it was due to his surprising return to action only four days after surgery. After gingerly dancing around the track for a couple of laps, the cameras remembered that the winner of last week’s race was also on track and setting a fine pace already. Even with a cautious Marquez, Fabio Quartararo did not have it easy at the front, with Takaaki Nakagami and the KTMs nipping at his heels. Lots of medium rear tyres were out to play for the first runs but Quartararo was quick to react to any threats to his lap record and improved it to lead going into the final time attack. However, his record was not as safe as the Frenchman would have liked and future teammate Maverick Vinales robbed him in the final couple of minutes, while setting a hot pace.
With Quartararo settling for second and Jack Miller the top Ducati in third, Nakagami once again made Honda proud with a fourth position. Pecco Bagnaia spent a bit of time at the top of the standings after a mid-session time attack but was pushed back to fifth in the end. Danilo Petrucci was one of the big surprises of FP3, the Italian making a late jump into the top six after a tough week in Jerez, while Brad Binder making it into Q2 courtesy of seventh place in FP3 was almost to be expected but still highly impressive, especially as the South African was only three tenths off the lead. Valentino Rossi left it late to improve on his Friday heroics but improve he did and secured eighth position going into qualifying.
Pol Espargaro and Joan Mir snatched the final direct Q2 spots, pushing back Aleix Espargaro, who did not help his case with two crashes throughout the session. Q1 should be a pretty entertaining affair given that the line-up also includes Franco Morbidelli, Miguel Oliveira, Andrea Dovizioso, Johann Zarco and the reigning world champion. Marquez started off strong, elbow down and quickly into the mid 1:38s, but made slow progress up the timesheets and did not put in a proper fast lap at the end. Amongst his convalescent colleagues, Cal Crutchlow significantly improved his times from Friday, while Alex Rins chose to sit out the session and return more rested to FP4.