Two Yamahas remain at the top as KTM’s Espargaro grabs a sensational P3, big names miss out on a top 10
A manic GP Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini MotoGP™ FP3 saw Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo set the pace with a scintillating 1:32.081, displacing Friday’s table-topper Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) by 0.356 as the two Yamahas set the pace one more. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) heads into qualifying as the third fastest man – 0.565 away from P1.
Glorious weather on Saturday morning meant the premier class riders were given a chance to improve their Friday times, as we witnessed a magnificent top 10 shootout at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Ducati Team’s Michele Pirro was the early improver as the Italian jumped up to P4 on the combined times, but it wasn’t until the final 10 minutes when the real swapping and changing came.
Espargaro, on fresh Michelin rubber, shot up to P4 to sit just under three tenths from the top. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was tampering on the edge of the top 10, but the Italian managed to improve up to fifth but most riders were setting personal best times at this point. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and the KTMs of Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and the injured Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) found themselves inside the top 10.
Viñales and Quartararo remained untouchable though, despite still not finding time in FP3. That changed however when Viñales went 0.3 quicker to set a 1:32.437, but ‘El Diablo’ – a demon on fresh soft tyres – jumped to P1 by 0.091. The 20-year-old wasn’t done there though, Quartararo was in the groove as he fired in that 1:32.081 – 0.365 better than Viñales.
The top of the order was pretty much decided as the clocked ticked down to under a minute, with Marquez improving his time but not position to stay fourth. The man he lost out to at Silverstone, though, needed a lap. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was P15 heading onto his last lap, but the Spaniard pulled it out the bag to go P8, knocking Zarco out of the top 10.
Behind the top four, Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) improved on his last lap to go P5, with sixth fastest Nakagami also going well on the soft tyres to take a place in Q2. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – sporting his 2019 Misano helmet – will head into qualifying as the seventh quickest rider, with Rins, Pirro and Dovizioso making up the remaining automatic Q2 places.
Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and teammate Aleix Espargaro crashed in FP3 – riders ok.
Big names such as Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and Ducati Team’s Danilo Petrucci will all have to contest in Q1. Qualifying begins at 14:10 local time (GMT+2) as we get set for a barnstormer at Misano.
Top 10 combined:
1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) 1:32.081
2. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.356
3. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.565
4. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.605
5. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.975
6. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 1.017
7. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 1.022
8. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 1.059
9. Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) + 1.213
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) + 1.259