Australia MotoGP: Vinales leads Marquez in bizarre FP3

Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales topped third practice for the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday, as heavy wind at Phillip Island restricted track running to a bare minimum.

Australia MotoGP: Vinales leads Marquez in bizarre FP3

Only four riders had set a time in the first 20 minutes of the FP3, with the quickest lap more than seven seconds slower than Friday’s benchmark.

Mika Kallio and Pol Espargaro broke the silence by venturing out on track with 23 minutes on the clock, but both returned to the KTM garage at the end of their out laps, neither opting to set a flyer.

Suzuki’s Joan Mir did a similar abortive run and it wasn’t until the final 10 minutes before more timed laps were set, with Marc Marquez leading.

Marquez immediately bettered Zarco’s previous time of 1m35.628s, and then lowered the benchmark further to 1m31.577s.

However, the Honda rider pitted with just over a minute to run, allowing Vinales to snatch the fastest time with 1m31.338s, ensuring he topped the leaderboard for a third consecutive session at Phillip Island.

Espargaro ended up third fastest behind Marquez, nearly 1.5s off the pace, while Zarco was fourth for LCR Honda after improving to 1m33.630s in the closing stages of the session.

Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo returned to the track for the first time since his heavy crash in FP1 and set the sixth-fastest time, but it wasn’t enough to earn him an automatic berth in Q2.

Kallio was seventh quickest aboard the second factory KTM, ahead of Alex Rins (Suzuki), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Ducati), who completed the top 10.

Avintia’s Karel Abraham and LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow were 11th and 12th respectively, with the remaining 10 riders not setting a timed lap due to tricky conditions.

The session was red-flagged early on when Jack Miller’s pitboard was bizarrely blown away by heavy wind, falling on the start/finish straight.

With times more than three seconds off Friday’s pace, there was no change in the overall classifications, meaning both Quartararo and Zarco will have to go through Q1, along with Honda’s Jorge Lorenzo. 

Session results:

Cla # Rider Bike Time Gap
1 12 Spain Maverick Viñales Yamaha 01'31.338  
2 93 Spain Marc Marquez Honda 01'31.577 00.239
3 44 Spain Pol Espargaro KTM 01'32.989 01.651
4 5 France Johann Zarco Honda 01'33.630 02.292
5 43 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 01'34.248 02.910
6 20 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 01'34.844 03.506
7 82 Finland Mika Kallio KTM 01'35.051 03.713
8 42 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 01'35.263 03.925
9 21 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 01'35.473 04.135
10 63 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 01'35.747 04.409
11 17 Czech Republic Karel Abraham Ducati 01'35.990 04.652
12 35 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow Honda 01'47.649 16.311
13 4 Italy Andrea Dovizioso Ducati    
14 9 Italy Danilo Petrucci Ducati    
15 29 Italy Andrea Iannone Aprilia    
16 36 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki    
17 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia    
18 46 Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha    
19 53 Spain Tito Rabat Ducati    
20 55 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin KTM    
21 88 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM    
22 99 Spain Jorge Lorenzo Honda    
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