The premier class took their final opportunity to settle the fight for the precious top 10 heading straight to Q2 and lessons were learned from the busy gravel traps on Friday, so time attack action kicked off quite early on. However, drama was successfully avoided and the fight went all the way to the chequered flag. With a couple of minutes left on the clock, it seemed like a classic Bagnaia versus Quartararo battle but then Johann Zarco came out of nowhere – well, from the top five – to steal the all-time lap record from his factory colleague, to the delight of the enthusiastic home crowd. Pecco Bagnaia dropped to second by three hundredths of a second, while Fabio Quartararo was another tenth back, both riders impressing with their pace on used rubber early on.
Marc Marquez orchestrated his usual FP3 strategy of finding a quick reference for his time attack and climbed up to fourth with a helping hand from the reigning world champion and a less helpful moment at turn 10. Jack Miller and Aleix Espargaro were the last riders to join the exclusive 1:30 club around Le Mans, while Takaaki Nakagami's late jump into the top 10 dropped Jorge Martin out of contention.
Alex Rins in eighth place was half a second off top spot, while the rest of the Q2 tickets were handed to Pol Espargaro and Enea Bastianini, but not without a bit of drama. The Spaniard took a tumble halfway through proceedings, while the Italian left a smoky Ducati leaning against the barriers with 14 minutes left of the session. Both managed to rejoin on their second machines and while Espargaro made some late progress, Bastianini did not and his lap record from Friday kept him inside the top 10 by the skin of his teeth.
Q1 looks like a pretty tasty proposition as well, with Martin missing out on Q2 by only three thousandths of a second and joined by the likes of Maverick Viñales, Joan Mir, Marco Bezzecchi and the entire KTM line-up.
|17||49||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||1:31.593||1.056||0.054|