Yamaha got a taste for some headlines after stealing the spotlight on Friday and Maverick Viñales seemed to forget that his bike used to suffer in hot slippery conditions and set camp at the front of the pack straight out the gates – only to be quickly demoted by teammate Valentino Rossi once the Spaniard took to the pits. The Yamaha charge was stopped by Andrea Iannone of all people once the Italian picked the pocket of his compatriot. Ultimately it was a pointless exercise once the title rivals swapped rubber and attacked the top of the charts.
Andrea Dovizioso found some speed once he put on new hard tyres and secured top spot by almost three tenths of a second, while doing a solid job on race pace as well. Marc Marquez had started his afternoon riding consistently on used hard rubber before testing an unusual used medium front-soft rear combination that pushed him towards the sharp end of the timesheets. After a cancelled fastest lap, the world champion had to settle for second and set his sights on Q1. Rossi dropped to third but showed very impressive rhythm to claim his share in the stakes for Sunday’s race.
Viñales was not too far off his teammate’s pace and ended the session as the last man within half as second of Dovizioso. Italians Iannone and Danilo Petrucci were followed by the Honda duo of Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa, the HRC bikes almost nine tenths down on the leader. Jack Miller and Alvaro Bautista completed the top ten, with Johann Zarco, Franco Morbidelli and Alex Rins knocking on the doors.