Franco Morbidelli topped the Saturday morning MotoGP practice at Motorland Aragon, as championship leader Fabio Quartararo was stretchered off after a painful crash.
Quartararo’s Yamaha was unsettled on the outside kerb out of Turn 13 and he was spat off his bike in a violent highside approaching the Turn 14 right-hander.
He was awake upon coming to a halt in the run-off, but gripped his left shoulder as he remained on the ground and had to be stretchered off the crash site.
The Frenchman, who had banged up his hip in a crash earlier this weekend, was taken to the circuit medical centre for a check-up.
The session had been pushed back by half an hour initially and then an additional 30 minutes so as to avoid an overly cold track surface, although it is believed riders were keen on it to start even later still.
The initial pace set by Quartararo was well over a second slower than what Maverick Vinales had managed on Friday, but Takaaki Nakagami edged closer by lowering the FP3 benchmark to 1m48.374s shortly after the halfway point.
Nakagami’s lap was an improvement on his own personal best from Friday, proving that the combined classification top 10 was not set in stone after Friday and encouraging riders to push for an improved laptime.
And Quartararo’s subsequent crash did little to discourage them, with team-mate Morbidelli taking over the top spot with a 1m47.859s with just over three minutes left on the clock.
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow shored up his Q2 spot by taking second behind Morbidelli, albeit half a second off, with KTM’s Pol Espargaro 0.005s off the pace and Suzuki’s Joan Mir – Quartararo’s closest rival in the standings – a further 0.003s down.
Honda rookie Alex Marquez improved upon his Friday time to ensure his first-ever Q2 appearance, ahead of Honda stablemate Takaaki Nakagami, Suzuki rider Alex Rins and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.
The two KTMs of Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder completed the top 10 in FP3 but will have to battle through Q1 as Vinales’ and Quartararo’s Friday times proved sufficient to secure them automatic Q2 spots.
Having been outside the combined classification top 10 after Friday’s running, all six Ducatis will indeed contest Q1.
This was despite Pramac rider Jack Miller seemingly setting a time good enough for Q2, only to have it chalked off due to yellow flags for Quartararo’s crash.
Ducati’s leading championship contender Andrea Dovizioso was only 11th in the session, having crashed early on at Turn 6.
Practice 3 Results
|Pos||Name||Team||Bike||Gap Next||Gap Leader||Best Time|
|1||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||1m47.859s|
|2||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||Honda||+0.455s||+0.455s||1m48.314s|
|3||Pol Espargaró||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+0.005s||+0.46s||1m48.319s|
|4||Joan Mir||Team Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||+0.003s||+0.463s||1m48.322s|
|5||Alex Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+0.081s||+0.544s||1m48.403s|
|6||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||Honda||+0.003s||+0.547s||1m48.406s|
|7||Alex Rins||Team Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||+0.227s||+0.774s||1m48.633s|
|8||Aleix Espargaró||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+0.02s||+0.794s||1m48.653s|
|9||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||+0.101s||+0.895s||1m48.754s|
|10||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+0.083s||+0.978s||1m48.837s|
|11||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||Ducati||+0.063s||+1.041s||1m48.9s|
|12||Maverick Viñales||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||+0.012s||+1.053s||1m48.912s|
|13||Francesco Bagnaia||Pramac Racing||Ducati||+0.041s||+1.094s||1m48.953s|
|14||Danilo Petrucci||Ducati Team||Ducati||+0.121s||+1.215s||1m49.074s|
|15||Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||+0.032s||+1.247s||1m49.106s|
|16||Iker Lecuona||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||+0.097s||+1.344s||1m49.203s|
|17||Stefan Bradl||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+0.041s||+1.385s||1m49.244s|
|18||Tito Rabat||Avintia Racing||Ducati||+0.039s||+1.424s||1m49.283s|
|19||Bradley Smith||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+0.085s||+1.509s||1m49.368s|
|20||Jack Miller||Pramac Racing||Ducati||+0.201s||+1.71s||1m49.569s|
|21||Johann Zarco||Avintia Racing||Ducati||+0.341s||+2.051s||1m49.91s|