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The Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia has set the fastest lap time in MotoGP™ FP3 at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, bouncing back from an early crash in emphatic fashion. The Italian blasted to a 1:45.393 with 10 minutes to go at a sunny Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, and enjoyed a margin of 0.276 seconds over the field once the session was done. Friday fast man Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) was next-best, booking his place in Q2, but eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) will be going into Q1.
‘Pecco’ was certainly not the only Ducati rider who had a rough start to Saturday morning, with team-mate Jack Miller forced to hitch a ride back to the paddock after an early technical failure, Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) running off into the gravel at San Donato (Turn 1), and later Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) taking a tumble at Scarperia (Turn 10). By the time the music stopped, however, the top seven featured six of the nine Desmosedicis in the field, with one bike from fellow Italian manufacturer Aprilia among them.
Bagnaia had tucked the front and crashed at Correntaio (Turn 12) just over 10 minutes in, but that was only a temporary hindrance before he set the quickest time of the weekend so far. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) got as high as second on the timing screen with a 1:45.762, and was third all-told after Aleix Espargaro rode his RS-GP to a 1:45.669 in the final minutes. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) claimed fourth with a 1:45.767, ahead of Bezzecchi on a 1:45.853. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) took sixth on a 1:45.860, before a crash at Bucine (Turn 15) with the chequered flag out, while Martin dusted himself off after his spill to earn seventh with a 1:45.879.
After seven Italian motorcycles came three from Japan. The Repsol Honda Team’s Pol Espargaro was eighth-quickest on a 1:45.880 and satellite counterpart Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) clocked a 1:45.999. World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo had a battle on his hands to secure an automatic Q2 berth, but the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) rider did just enough with a 1:46.032.
With so many top 10 aspirants, clearly some were going to be disappointed, and the biggest disappointment might have been felt by Marc Marquez. The Spaniard was a full 1.184 seconds off the pace set by Bagnaia, and 0.545 seconds slower than the lap time which Quartararo set to get into Q2. Both of the Team Suzuki Ecstar entries will be going into Q1, with Alex Rins 12th in FP3 and Joan Mir 16th, while Miller was arguably the biggest surprise of the three Ducati riders who failed to get into the top 10. He headed back out on his second bike after having to park his first, but the Ducati Lenovo Team pilot could only improve to a 1:46.169 which left the Australian 15th.
Darryn Binder (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ Team) is under investigation by stewards after he also crashed at Bucine where Bastianini had gone down shortly prior. The South African is 25th on the combined timesheet after FP3.
The MotoGP™ action resumes when FP4 gets underway later on Saturday at 13:30 (GMT +2).
MotoGP™ Top 10:
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1:45.393
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.276
3. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.369
4. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.374
5. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.460
6. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 0.467
7. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.486
8. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.487
9. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.606
10. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 0.639
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