The premier class entered the stage at the COTA festival in pretty wet conditions and the headline act was once again Marc Marquez, the sheriff getting a nice homecoming by leading the way early on by over two seconds. However, the Honda man lost most of that advantage as sunshine made an appearance and track conditions improved, prompting riders to get an early time attack in. Jack Miller was the Spaniard’s main challenger, the Ducati man briefly leading the way but getting demoted back to second by one tenth of a second in the end. Fresh off arm pump surgery, Johann Zarco’s mission was made slightly easier by the conditions and the Frenchman did well to climb into third, six tenths behind the leader.
Miguel Oliveira was back at the business end, up to fourth, with Pol Espargaro completing the top five as the final rider to post a time within a second of his leading teammate. After a slow start on Friday morning, Alex Marquez made a late jump into sixth position on his final flying lap, ahead of Alex Rins as the top Suzuki. Pecco Bagnaia kept close in eighth, with the KTM machines of Brad Binder and Iker Lecuona rounding out the top 10 with identical times. Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo couldn’t quite break into the top 10 and ended the session 12th and 15th, over two seconds behind the leader.