The collective prayers thankfully paid off and the Cathedral of Speed was a dry place of worship by Saturday morning, allowing the premier class to immediately challenge Friday’s benchmark. The stars of FP3 were the Aprilias, with Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales trading top spot throughout the session and the elder statesman eventually securing the lead despite a late tumble at turn three. Espargaro’s crash was one of a handful that caused a burst of yellow flags in the final few minutes of the session, halting progress for Aprilia’s challengers and seeing quite a bit of movement in the top 10 due to cancelled lap times. Fabio Quartararo managed to avoid all that to stay second, as the Aprilias’ main challenger throughout the session, ending the morning only four hundredths of a second behind the leading Spaniard.
A yellow flag infringement for Viñales dropped him to seventh, allowing Alex Rins to inherit third position and helping Takaaki Nakagami into fourth, as the sole Honda representative in the top 10. With Pol Espargaro withdrawing from the weekend due to pain and discomfort from the injuries suffered in Germany and Alex Marquez joining Stefan Bradl at the bottom of the top 20, Nakagami will be hoping to carry the Honda flag as close to the top as possible and make a solid bid for saving his seat.
Marco Bezzecchi was a consistent feature at the top end of the timesheets and ended the session fifth, only two tenths off top spot and as the lead Ducati rider, just ahead of Pecco Bagnaia. Friday’s leader was one of the late improvers on the timing screens, focusing on pace early on but eventually re-joining the top 10 in sixth position. Viñales’ penalty dropped him to seventh, ahead of the Pramac duo of Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco, with Jack Miller rounding out the top 10 positions.
Joan Mir started the session looking pretty strong, despite some early bodywork-going-rogue issues, but eventually missed out on a direct placement in Q2 by eight hundredths of a second and will join a competitive Q1 together with the likes of Fabio Di Giannantonio and Enea Bastianini – both teammates’ placement affected by late crashes – as well as the KTM duo of Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira and the Ducati of Luca Marini, whose session was affected by an early tumble at turn 10.
|12||49||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||1:32.999||0.835||0.037|