Portuguese MotoGP: Quartararo fastest in FP3, Marquez to Q1

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo topped a red-flagged third MotoGP practice for the Portuguese Grand Prix, which was halted following a massive accident for Pramac’s Jorge Martin.

Portuguese MotoGP: Quartararo fastest in FP3, Marquez to Q1
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It’s unclear what happened in the crash, but Martin was on an out-lap when he went down at Turn 7 and was violently thrown through the gravel.

He has been taken to the medical centre for checks and was declared conscious, though had to be stretchered off track.

Despite most heading out on medium rubber for the start of FP3, several improvements on the combined order came immediately.

KTM’s Miguel Oliveira – who is unhappy with the front tyre allocation this weekend – found a tenth on his FP2 best in ninth, before leaping up to ninth while Petronas SRT’s Franco Morbidelli moved to ninth ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.

Morbidelli got into a minor scrape with Takaaki Nakagami early in FP3, the Italian making slight contact with the LCR rider up at the Turn 11 Portimao corner having caught him cruising on the racing line.

Nakagami had to go to the medical centre midway through FP3 for painkilling injections in the shoulder he hurt in his terrifying high-speed crash at Turn 1 in FP2, but returned to action in the closing stages.

World championship leader Johann Zarco set the pace on the individual timesheets after 10 minutes with a 1m40.008s, which put him second overall.

This stood as the best time of the morning until Espargaro on the Aprilia bested Francesco Bagnaia’s quickest time from Friday with a 1m39.690s with 20 minutes to go on a fresh soft slick.

Espargaro’s reign was ended by Jack Miller on the factory Ducati, who moved clear with a 1m39.345s seven minutes later as the rest of the field took to the track to begin their quests for a direct Q2 place.

Quartararo spread the field further with his first time attack lap in the closing stages having spent much of FP3 working on used tyre pace with the medium compound.

The Yamaha rider’s first soft tyre effort with just under 10 minutes to go put him top of the pile as he produced a 1m39.044s.

Morbidelli cut his former teammate’s advantage to just 0.051s moments later, before the session was halted with 4m11s remaining after a big crash for Pramac rookie Martin.

When the session got back underway at 10:48am local time, almost the entire field exited pitlane together to try and secure a place in Q2.

Quartararo’s 1m39.044s came unchallenged at the end, with the Frenchman leading Morbidelli and a late improver in Bagnaia in third.

Zarco leaped up to fourth on his Pramac Ducati late on ahead of Suzuki’s Alex Rins, with Jack Miller ensuring both factory Ducati riders have gone straight into Q2.

Avintia rookie Luca Marini will make his first Q2 appearance in MotoGP after ending FP3 an impressive seventh ahead of Aleix Espargaro, Oliveira and Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales.

A late crash at Turn 3 for Alex Marquez stopped him from advancing into Q2, leaving the Spaniard 11th and in a volatile Q1 group.

World champion Joan Mir could only muster 12th on his Suzuki ahead of Honda’s Pol Espargaro, SRT’s Valentino Rossi and the returning Marc Marquez on the sister works Honda.

Marquez made a mistake on his penultimate flying lap and couldn’t improve on his final effort, leaving him facing Q1.

Qualifying gets underway at 2:10pm local time.

Cla Rider Bike Laps Time Gap
1 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 18 1'39.044  
2 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 19 1'39.095 0.051
3 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 18 1'39.117 0.073
4 France Johann Zarco Ducati 18 1'39.228 0.184
5 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 20 1'39.328 0.284
6 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 17 1'39.345 0.301
7 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 18 1'39.600 0.556
8 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 15 1'39.690 0.646
9 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 19 1'39.697 0.653
10 Spain Maverick Viñales Yamaha 22 1'39.742 0.698
11 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 20 1'39.796 0.752
12 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 19 1'39.818 0.774
13 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 19 1'39.828 0.784
14 Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha 22 1'39.912 0.868
15 Spain Marc Marquez Honda 21 1'39.945 0.901
16 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 17 1'40.196 1.152
17 Italy Danilo Petrucci KTM 19 1'40.302 1.258
18 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 17 1'40.343 1.299
19 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 12 1'41.046 2.002
20 Italy Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 17 1'41.190 2.146
21 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 9 1'41.566 2.522
22 Spain Iker Lecuona KTM 19 1'41.568 2.524
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