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14 days ago
By motogp.com

Zarco streets ahead in wet FP3, Miller stays top

No improvements were made on Saturday morning after overnight rain, top 10 remains the same

A wet Free Practice 3 at the Gran Premio de Europa saw none of the MotoGP™ riders improve their Friday times, meaning Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) stays top of the pile heading into qualifying. The Australian’s 1:32.528 is 0.092 ahead of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and over two tenths ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) as the top 10 in FP2 head straight into Q2. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) was the fastest man on Saturday morning.

After heavy overnight rain, despite no morning downpours, the Circuit Ricardo Tormo was wet for MotoGP™ FP3 and at the beginning of the session, Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) was leading the way with a 1.43.860. Zarco then took over at the summit but the times were way off troubling the combined standings with 10 minutes gone. Miller was the only rider who chose not to head out in the early minutes, the Australian said on Friday that he’s got the setup he wanted, so there was no need for any unnecessary risks.

Bradl then went top again to set the best wet time of the weekend, beating Miller’s effort by a couple of tenths with 15 minutes of FP3 gone. At that particular moment, it didn’t look likely that the premier class would get some dry running in ahead of FP4 and qualifying. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was back on track after missing the two MotorLand races, The Doctor was up into the top 10 after blowing off the cobwebs.

Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was struggling once more in the wet conditions, the Frenchman was 2.4 seconds adrift of new session pacesetter Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3). Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) then jumped up to P2 before Zarco then beat Oliveira’s time by less than a tenth. However, with 16 minutes remaining, the chances of a dry enough line appearing for slick tyres was incredibly slim still, despite the Valencian sun making an appearance through the clouds.

Some better times in the dry came in late on as track conditions improved. Viñales and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) exchanged P2 in quick succession to slot in behind Zarco, but the Frenchman then extended his lead by a further three tenths. On his final lap, Viñales went just 0.008 off Zarco’s time, but the latter then promoted himself into a different league with a 1:40.007 to end FP3 a long way ahead of the competition.

None of this mattered in terms of who was going straight through to Q2 though. Miller, Aleix Espargaro and Morbidelli are followed by Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) in the top five. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Quartararo and Championship leader Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) don’t have to worry about competing in Q1, they're all inside the top 10. Viñales is the only title contender who is outside the top 10 in P11, but the Spaniard has a pitlane start anyway.

Round 13: MotoGP™ FP3 at the European Grand Prix

The big question now is what will the conditions be like for FP4 and qualifying? A huge afternoon lies ahead for the MotoGP™ riders and you don’t want to miss a single lap of the action. Tune in for FP4 at 14:10 local time (GMT+1) before qualifying kicks off at 14:50.

Top 10 combined:
1. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) – 1:32.528
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.092
3. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.276
4. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.338
5. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.424
6. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.629
7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.731
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) + 0.764
9. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.809
10. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.877

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