Given the blue sky with only patches of cloud, the premier class was in no rush to improve on their Friday times and focused on race pace work. It was not even slightly surprising to see the Yamahas and the world champion taking up air time for most of the session but improvements on the combined timesheets only came for the final ten minutes of FP2, just as rain flags came out waving. Whatever droplets there were, it did not seem to affect the time attack too much, red sectors still coming throughout.
Franco Morbidelli was the fastest man of the morning, taking his turn to shine on his squad’s home track. The Italian stole his teammate’s thunder by two tenths of a second, although Fabio Quartararo will find comfort (not that he needs it) in his lap record from Friday staying untouched. Marc Marquez was less than a tenth behind his younger nemesis, with Maverick Viñales glued to his back another eight thousandths of a second behind. However, looking at long runs, it’s the factory Yamaha rider who stands out with hot pace in the low to mid 1:59s, while his satellite colleague and the world champion are one step behind in the high 1:59 – low 2:00s, all favouring the medium tyre combination.
Jack Miller was best of the rest in fifth, almost half a second off the lead, while teammate Pecco Bagnaia continued his progress by joining Q2 after an excellent final flying lap that demoted fellow rookie Joan Mir out of the top ten. Alex Rins managed to hang on from seventh in FP3 and ninth on the combined standings, while Johann Zarco seriously impressed with his late jump to eight, which handed him the final Q2 ticket, to his teammate’s misfortune.
Mir and Cal Crutchlow rounded out the top ten of the session but both riders were left stranded in Q1. Meanwhile, class veterans Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso did not really find the spotlight in FP3, finishing more or less a second off the leader, but their times from Friday confidently kept them inside the combined top ten and secured their attendance in Q2. Both Italians seemed to favour the soft rear tyre but didn’t quite perform miracles on it.