One way or another, FP3 was going to be dramatic for the premier class. If dry, it meant another tough fight for the top 10, if wet, it would become a long drumroll for a premium Q1 line-up. The weather seemed set on the latter, with heavy rainfall on Saturday morning, but a drying line creeped in early into the session and hinted at some headline-worthy antics in the closing stages.
Perhaps predictably, Jack Miller was the first to make a statement on slick tyres 15 minutes into the session and was the early pacesetter with an advantage of over three seconds. The gap reduced as rivals followed his example but by the halfway point, the top time was still some five seconds away from threatening Friday’s top 10. The substantial cloud cover prevented those dry patches from expanding too quickly but that didn’t stop Marc Marquez from headlining the second half of the session and pushing from the front to climb as high as possible on the combined standings. While a valiant effort all the way to the chequered flag, it ultimately fell about two seconds short of the combined top 10. However, Marquez managed a nice consistent pace and a trouble-free run in tricky conditions, if Sunday decides to serve more of the same.
Pecco Bagnaia was the closest rival, about two tenths behind the Honda man, while the Mooney VR46 duo impressed by joining the top four, rookie Marco Bezzecchi ahead of Luca Marini. While the men ahead will meet up in Q1, Alex Rins gets a pass into Q2, to go with fifth place in FP3. Pol Espargaro gave it a go on fresh soft rubber in the last couple of minutes of the session, but the gamble didn’t really pay off and the Spaniard finished sixth, ahead of Miller, Miguel Oliveira and Joan Mir. Andrea Dovizioso’s experience paid off in the changing conditions and the Italian joined the top 10, seven tenths off the lead.
Fabio Quartararo was in no rush to sample the conditions early on and when he did actually join the action on slick tyres, tech gremlins popped up once again and the Frenchman returned to pitlane straight away. Championship leader Enea Bastianini and Aleix Espargaro had enough after a couple of wet laps and sat out the rest of the session, securely into Q2 and waiting for the likes of Marquez, Bagnaia, Mir and Pol Espargaro to put on a show in Q1.
|18||49||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||1:35.856||1.789||0.539|
|Not qualified (Out 105%)|