Quartararo quickest again to lead Marquez in FP3. Automatic Q2 places were decided on a frantic Saturday morning in Valencia.
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) continued to reign at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana after topping the FP3 timesheets. World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller completes the top three on a cold morning in Valencia.
Because of the cool conditions, not many riders were able to find time on Saturday morning in the opening stages of the session. Marquez went faster on his fifth flying lap but he remained behind Friday pacesetters Quartararo and Maverick Viñles (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). However, as we often see in a dry MotoGP™ FP3, the main chunk of the action came in the latter stages.
With just under 12 minutes remaining, Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) penetrated the top 10 with a 1:31.348. The riders pitted for fresh soft Michelin rubber as the last 10 minutes saw plenty of swapping and changing. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) then leapfrogged his way into P5 from outside the top 10, with compatriot Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) then doing the same. Second place Viñales, one of five riders in the top 10 yet to improve, then cut Quartararo’s advantage to 0.030. However, with three to go, Rossi was at the summit. ‘The Doctor’ slammed in a 1:30.630 to go over a tenth clear, but Miller then relegated Rossi to P2. However, Quartararo and Marquez were about to move the goalposts – the Frenchman more so than the 2019 Champion. The duo stuck themselves P1 and P2 in the dying seconds, with the Rookie of the Year going 0.2 clear to continue his 100% weekend record up.
Behind the front three was Rossi, the nine-time World Champion enjoyed a solid morning after suffering two crashes on Friday. The 40-year-old spearheads a triple threat of Yamahas as Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Viñales slot in behind the Italian to claim top six places. Petrucci leads factory Ducati teammate Dovizioso in P7 and P8 respectively, while Joan Mir sits as the only automatic Q2 Team Suzuki Ecstar candidate in P9. Completing the all-important top 10 was Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), despite a crash in FP3 for the three-time Grand Prix race winner. KTM’s Espargaro and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) missed out by less than a tenth as we get set for a tasty looking qualifying later on this afternoon.
Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) crashed at Turn 1 with little time of FP3 remaining, thankfully the Italian was up on his feet but he will head to the hospital for further checks. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) crashed twice in FP3 – rider ok.