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In mixed FP3 conditions, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) came out on top to set a 1:26.496 as the Red Bull Ring started to dry, finishing ahead of a British armada consisting of Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Scott Redding (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) having to go through Q1 in qualifying.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) finished seventh on Saturday morning, but the Italian’s FP1 time proves to be the fastest on the combined timesheets after two rain affected Free Practice sessions, meaning teammate Jorge Lorenzo and fellow GP18 rider Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) complete the top three ahead of qualifying.
Marquez was in a league of his own in mixed conditions, 1.7 seconds clear of the field as he heads into Q2 fourth on the combined timesheets, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) rounding out the top five. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), Crutchlow, Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing), Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Johann Zarco and Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) round out the top ten after Free Practice at the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, their FP1 times enough to earn them an automatic Q2 place.
However, it wasn’t the Saturday morning conditions Rossi was hoping for as he and the rest of the premier class grid couldn’t improve their times on a drying track. The session started on the full wet tyres but with just under 15 minutes to go, Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) braved the slicks. The ‘Doctor’ followed suit to see if the Red Bull Ring could provide the nine-time World Champion a chance to get into the all-important top ten, but it was to no avail. Q1 beckons for the Italian, but could that provide Rossi with an advantage if the conditions remain sketchy?
With the weather playing a leading role at the Austrian GP, qualifying looks set to be an absolute classic. Tune in when Q1 gets underway at 14:10 local time (GMT +2).
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