A glimpse of sun on a largely light blue sky almost looked like an illusion after the setting offered by Le Mans for the previous practice sessions. A drying track set things up nicely for a fierce fight for direct Q2 access in the final ten minutes of the session.
That also meant that besides Danilo Petrucci going like a rocket through the turn two gravel trap, there was little action in the first half of the session, Alvaro Bautista getting quite a bit of airtime as the only rider going around as the track was drying.
The real action started with fifteen minutes to go, the OCTO Pramac teammates once again the opening act on slick tyres, Scot Redding being the first rider to beat Jack Miller’s top time from Friday. The Brit also proved to be the fastest rider of the morning, with three tenths in hand over compatriot Cal Crutchlow. The LCR Honda rider placed second, while also giving a helpful tow to Karel Abraham in sixth spot.
Knowing he had posted the fastest time on Friday, Jack Miller waited for some other riders to take over track-drying duties and was one of the few not have a real go on wet tyres. He eventually crashed on his first laps on slick tyres but had enough time to give it another go and grab third position in FP3.
Valentino Rossi looked to be having a much better feeling in dry conditions, the Italian half a second off Redding and in fourth spot. He was closely followed by the reigning world champion, Marc Marquez fifth and near the top of the timesheets for most of the session but never quite best.
The sun definitely smiled to the KTM duo, Pol Espargaro snatching seventh and Bradley Smith only just sneaking into the top ten, both riders ensuring their rightful Q2 ticket. Between them, Maverick Viñales and an impressive Loris Baz secured eighth and ninth positions.
Despite topping a wet FP2, Andrea Dovizioso didn’t have as good of a time in the dry, only finishing twelfth, Danilo Petrucci also dropping back to fourteenth after an early FP3 lead. Still, the two Ducatis won’t be quite as unhappy as the two men at the bottom of the timesheets: Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
The higher temperatures that oscillated greatly in different parts of the track initially seemed to help Pedrosa get some more heat into his tyres, the Spaniard improving his Friday time on wet tyres to briefly lead FP3 before struggling in the slick tyre mad dash to only finish twenty-second. Lorenzo had a similar session, both riders finishing over five and a half seconds down on Redding and with big question marks over their chances of making it through Q1.