The rain and mist of Motegi returned Marc Marquez to the top of the timesheets on his long-awaited return to Honda’s playground. The Spaniard enjoyed the tricky conditions, with rain intensifying throughout the session, and led the way for most of Saturday morning’s proceedings – the session making no difference to the Q2 line-up. Jorge Martin eventually closed the gap to his compatriot to only a tenth of a second, while Friday’s leader, Jack Miller occupied third position. Miguel Oliveira and Johann Zarco joined the top five, with only Franco Morbidelli and Enea Bastianini making the list of riders within a second of the leader.
Alex Marquez and Luca Marini also looked pretty solid in the tricky conditions, while Fabio Quartararo rounded out the top 10, after doing some off-roading to get things going. The rest of the title contenders joined him for a trip through the gravel at turn three early on, but the premier class avoided crashes until the final dozen minutes, when a red flag was needed to clear the track following a tumble for Pol Espargaro at turn eight.
After struggling early on, Aleix Espargaro made some late progress up into 11th position, while Pecco Bagnaia took it easy in 15th and Maverick Viñales lingered in 18th. The Suzukis weren’t having the most fun either, with Alex Rins ending the session down in 23rd position, over two seconds off top spot.
|12||49||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||1:56.588||1.356||0.011|