The cooler overcast conditions have made it a challenge for riders to improve their times in the first half of the third practice session. As race settings were refined, dirt brushed off leathers and qualifying runs attempted, times started to drop, with another Andrea taking top honours, this time the Ducati of Dovizioso.
Halfway through the session, Marc Marquez locked the front massively, prompting his Honda to turn into a rodeo ride that magically stayed upright. Besides another save for the highlights reel, he also finished with a second position in the bag, only two hundreds of a second off the leader and dropping Maverick Viñales into third.
Only a tenth off the top of the timesheets was Valentino Rossi, after a string of late fast laps, followed by fellow Italian Andrea Iannone. Cal Crutchlow breathed a sigh of relief after jumping from thirteenth to sixth, with another Brit in seventh position, Scott Redding putting another Ducati in the top ten. Danilo Petrucci made it four Ducatis with his eighth spot, in front of Aleix Espargaro.
Jorge Lorenzo was a little shaken by a fast crash in the early part of the session, Assen proving once again to be a blemish in his largely impeccable portfolio. He only just held on to tenth position in the final minutes. Pol Espargaro manged to do a copycat tumble but not a copycat time, dropping into twelfth spot.
The dry conditions were both good news and bad news for Dani Pedrosa, the Honda rider struggling to make the top ten on Friday. The weather gave him another shot but he could not make the best of it, being forced to go through Q1 this afternoon.