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Francesco Bagnaia will head into Saturday’s qualifying as the premier class’ fastest rider, with the Ducati man’s 1:31.936 giving him 0.039s to spare over Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) as the two look set to duel it out at the Octo Grand Prix of San Marino. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) will also want to be part of that conversation, and the Aussie sits third on the timesheets.
With conditions drier than on Friday, it didn’t take long for riders to begin improving their times, Bagnaia making his move early on to dispose Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) from top spot after his fifth lap, though the number 11 soon retook top spot by two-tenths with just over 15 minutes to go.
At this stage, Quartararo was finally getting into his weekend groove after a frustrating Friday, and the Championship leader moved into P1 and became the first rider to dip into the 1:31s. The competition at the top was fierce, with Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) positioning himself inside the top two before Bagnaia responded with the weekend’s fastest lap, and teammate Miller recorded his personal best time of the weekend to push the reigning Champion down into fourth.
There was disappointment for the home fans expecting fireworks from Valentino Rossi, with the Petronas SRT rider finding himself in the gravel at Turn 13. The Doctor did rejoin the session but was unable to take his place in Q2. Crashes hindered other riders attempts of securing a top 10, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) going down at Turn 14. He will be joined in Q1 by Tech3 riders Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci, with both men going down in quick succession.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) ensured both GSX-RR’s will be in Q2 while Johann Zarco left it late to make his move, but in the end, it was good enough for P7. He’ll be joined by Pramac Racing teammates Jorge Martin and Michele Pirro, who finished just behind Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team).
There are some big names who will scrap it out in Q1, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) having his best time cancelled for exceeding track limits. He and Marquez will be joined by some other big hitters like Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira, as well as the returning Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP).
The premier class will be back on track for FP4 at 13:30 local time.
*Aleix Espargaro's lap time was reinstated, meaning that the Aprilia rider will take part in Q2 at the expense of Michele Pirro.
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) - 1:31.936
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monstar Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.039
3. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.153
4. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.200
5. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.264
6. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.371
7. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.388
8. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.428
9. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.480
10. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.491
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