‘The Martinator’ bounces back from a crash to top FP3

The Pramac Ducati rider carries his good pace into Saturday morning in Thailand

Jorge Martin has picked himself up from an early crash to set the pace after FP3 for the MotoGP™ field at the OR Thailand Grand Prix. The Prima Pramac Racing rider set a 1:30.205 in his time attack and ended the session 0.012 seconds up on fellow Desmosedici rider Jack Miller, of the Ducati Lenovo Team. Third and fourth was also Pramac and factory Ducati, namely Johann Zarco and Francesco Bagnaia, courtesy of their FP2 efforts at the Chang International Circuit, and World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) is fifth. However, some big names are going into Q1 this afternoon, including Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and title contender Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing).

Martin and Miller on top despite going down

The rain stayed away on Saturday morning and riders took the opportunity to undertake race simulations before bolting on new Michelin tyres for the final minutes of the session. Martin had ended Friday in third position but a crash at Turn 12, less than 10 minutes into FP3, was not an ideal way to kick off his FP3 programme. However, the Spaniard was still fourth on combined times when he set that 1:30.205 inside the final three minutes to claim top spot.

Less comfortable had been Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), who was looking to protect his title hopes but was outside the Q2 places at the end of FP2. His time attack in FP3 did not start well, with an error at Turn 12, but he recovered well enough to set a 1:30.513 and move up to seventh on combined times. In doing so, Bastianini put Ducati stablemate Miller in the danger zone, but the Japanese GP winner then jumped to second with a 1:30.217. ‘Thriller’ crashed on his next lap, up at Turn 3, although it would matter little.

M. Marquez misses out – and A. Espargaro too

On the other hand, Marquez’s messy run through Turn 12 as Miller was setting that P2 time would prove costly when he failed to improve on the 1:30.523 which he set in FP1. He was out of the top 10 when Brad Binder set a 1:30.405 after the chequered flag and unable to get back in – yellow flags for Miller’s crash certainly did not help his cause. As for Binder, his lap was good enough for sixth, one position behind Quartararo on a 1:30.310. Zarco held onto third with the 1:30.281 that was the benchmark in FP2 and Bagnaia to fourth with a 1:30.299 in that same session.

Rounding out the top 10 were Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Bastianini ultimately on a 1:30.492, and the Mooney VR46 Racing Team duo, Marco Bezzecchi and Luca Marini. Marquez was not the only notable consigned to Q1, with Aleix Espargaro only managing to improve to a 1:30.831 on his penultimate lap which left him 14th on combined times. Aprilia’s grip struggles were continuing on Saturday morning in Buriram, and teammate Maverick Viñales was particularly frustrated as he was unable to go better than the 1:30.996 which he set on Friday. ‘Top Gun’ is classified 18th after FP3, while Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Raul Fernandez missed the session altogether due to a bad stomach ache.

Riders now have another chance to work on race trim in FP4 at 14:25, then it’s Q1 from 15:05 (GMT +7)!

MotoGP™ Combined Top 10

1. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) – 1:30.205
2. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.012
3. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.076
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.094
5. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 0.105
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.200
7. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.239
8. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 0.287
9. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.308
10. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.311


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