The premier class made sure to liven things up on Saturday morning and Franco Morbidelli was the star of the show for once, the Italian demonstrating excellent pace and posting the fastest time of the weekend at the start of the shootout for direct Q2 places, which went unchallenged until the checkered flag. Johann Zarco came closest to putting up a fight, only a hundredth of a second behind the top time and with just as (if not even better) pace than the leader. The Frenchman was sandwiched in between the Petronas machines and ahead of countryman Fabio Quartararo, who had to make do with third, although under a tenth slower than his teammate and only six thousandths faster than the KTM of Pol Espargaro.
Valentino Rossi was one of the early improvers to join the provisional top ten and a consistent performance saw him climb into fifth, narrowly ahead of the other Espargaro sibling, Aleix placing Aprilia in sixth position after getting a deluxe tow from Maverick Vinales. Joan Mir added a Suzuki to the mix, while Cal Crutchlow pushed his teammate out of the top ten to reclaim his status as top Honda rider in eighth position. Vinales and Danilo Petrucci rounded out the top ten and grabbed the last Q2 spots on offer in FP3.
Despite being only three tenths of a second slower than Morbidelli, Alex Rins will face the challenge of Q1 together with the likes of Takaaki Nakagami, Andrea Dovizioso, Miguel Oliveira or Jack Miller, all of them only half a second off the lead.
The unfortunate ongoing game of MotoGP whack-a-mole made another victim ahead of FP3, with Pecco Bagnaia ruled out of the next couple of races by a fracture to the tibia suffered in FP1.