Franco Morbidelli’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) 1:38.929 on his final flying lap saw the Italian beat former teammate and World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) in FP3 at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, the Yamaha pair split by just 0.046s on a sunny Saturday morning. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Miguel Oliveira cemented a top three at the end of the session as two-time 2021 race winner Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) is squeezed out of an automatic Q2 place.
The top 10 after FP3
After sitting P2 at the end of Friday’s proceedings, Quartararo went P1 with 15 minutes of FP3 to go, before the factory Yamaha star then stretched his advantage to just over a quarter of the second. The Frenchman held station until the final bout of laps were chucked in, with Morbidelli going top by less than half a tenth to lead a Yamaha 1-2. Oliveira is just 0.122s shy of Morbidelli as Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) breathes a sigh of relief, his last lap put the Italian P4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) is fifth as the leading quintet are just 0.150s apart ahead of qualifying.
Brad Binder makes it two Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machines sailing into the second part of qualifying in Catalonia, the South African leads seventh place Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing), the latter heading into Q2 thanks to his FP2 time. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and reigning World Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) are eighth and ninth respectively, as Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) grabs a last-gasp top 10 – The Doctor is less than half a second away from teammate Morbidelli, as all four Yamahas earn Q2 spots.
A tasty Q1 session awaits
Rossi’s time at the end of the session spelt bad news for title-chasing Miller. The Australian finished 11th on the combined times and misses out on automatic Q2 promotion by 0.069s, how crucial could that prove to be? HRC’s Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) are right behind Miller in P12 and P13 respectively, as under a second covers 19 riders in the premier class. Once again, it’s incredibly competitive.
As always, you’re not going to want to miss MotoGP™ qualifying. 14:10 local time (GMT+2) is when the riders fight for pole position at the Catalan GP, make sure you’re tuned in for it.
Top 10 combined:
1. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) – 1:38.929
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.046
3. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.122
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.144
5. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.150
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.237
7. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.306
8. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.353
9. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.395
10. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.497