Saturday morning in Texas was still dry and hot, albeit quite overcast, and it allowed the premier class another physically-demanding battle for the top 10. There was no major movement on the timesheets early on but the time attack eventually hotted up for the final handful of minutes, with Jack Miller ending FP3 on a high, almost seven tenths of a second ahead of the opposition. Only five rivals managed to finish the session within a second of the Ducati man, with Takaaki Nakagami as the main challenger. The LCR man spent the session in the top three and with a brief stint at the top, before dropping to second, ahead of Alex Rins. The Suzuki man’s late charge promoted him to third, ahead of Friday headliner Marc Marquez, who was in no rush to swap to fresh rubber until the final few minutes, when he recovered some ground to claim fourth.
Johann Zarco and compatriot Fabio Quartararo were the final riders posting a time within a second of Miller’s, with Pol Espargaro another tenth back in seventh place. Brad Binder’s late attack pushed teammate Miguel Oliveira out of the top 10, while the Ducatis of Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin just about held onto a ticket directly into Q2.
Enea Bastianini briefly looked like securing another trip to Q2 but got demoted at the last minute and will be in good company in Q1, from world champion Joan Mir in particular. The Spaniard dipped in and out of the top 10 throughout the session and the carousel stopped with him in 13th position, only a hundredth of a second ahead of a still-convalescent Franco Morbidelli. Aleix Espargaro’s bad time in Texas continues, the Aprilia man crashing out at turn 12 on an outlap, before making his final bid for the top 10, and dropping to 20th overall.