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Viñales heads Marquez by 0.026 in a frantic FP3 session

Australian GP winner was the quickest man on Saturday morning as the times tumbled in the latter stages of the session

Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) ends FP3 at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets after setting the quickest time of 1:59.231. The Australian GP winner edged out Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) by 0.026, with leading Ducati rider Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) as the times tumbled in the final six minutes of the Saturday morning session.

The conditions in Malaysia were cooler than anticipated in FP3 and it seemed the combined times wouldn’t be changing much from FP2, but it was Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) who propelled himself into the top ten from P11 to set off a chain reaction of quicker times with under six minutes to go. 

Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) then also got himself into the top ten as he went quickest in the session, with Pedrosa then taking over at the summit before Viñales and Miller exchanged quickest times. 2018 Champion Marquez then came out on fresh rubber to shoot to the top of the standings, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) then forcing his way into the all-important top ten – Bautista the man making way. Marquez then went quicker again but it was Viñales who would take Saturday morning honours as the session drew to a close.

Fourth overall was Pedrosa, a good morning’s work for the ‘Little Samurai’ after finishing P11 on Friday, 0.386 off Viñales, with FP2’s quickest rider Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) sitting fifth on the combined times after failing to improve his Friday time. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) sits P6, he’s 0.424 off fellow YZR-M1 rider Viñales, with Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) consolidating a top ten place on his final lap of FP3.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) sits P8 after failing to go quicker than he did on Friday, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) in the same boat as his compatriot. No improvement for ‘The Doctor’, so it’s P9 for him, with Iannone grabbing P10 to take the last automatic Q2 spot.

Jordi Torres (Reale Avintia Racing), teammate Xavier Simeon and Jorge Lorenzo’s replacement Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) all crashed during the session – rider ok.

Who will secure pole position at Sepang? Qualifying isn’t far away, so don’t forget to tune in at 15:10 local time (GMT +8) to find out.

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