Franco Morbidelli topped a dramatic third MotoGP practice for the Aragon Grand Prix as championship leader Fabio Quartararo had to be taken to the medical centre after a heavy crash.
The session got under way an hour later than originally planned over safety concerns about the cold temperatures, although the conditions meant lap time improvement on the combined order were few and far between for much of the 45 minutes.
Quartararo set the early pace in the individual FP3 timesheet with a 1m49.810s, before improving to a 1m49.106s.
The only improvement on the combined order in the early stages came from LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami, who went top in FP3 and up to seventh overall with a 1m48.710s.
With 18 minutes to go, Nakagami jumped up to fourth on the combined standings with a 1m48.374s, while Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia improved his overall lap time – but only to 19th.
Bagnaia’s fellow Ducati rider Dovizioso was caught out by the conditions at the right-hand Turn 6 and crashed with 18 minutes to go.
More drama would strike another title contender, as Quartararo was flicked from his Petronas SRT Yamaha at Turn 14.
Quartararo immediately went for his left shoulder and had to be stretchered off the track before being taken to the medical centre for a check-up.
An SRT spokesperson has confirmed that Quartararo is experiencing a lot of pain in his hip, but X-rays showed he’d suffered no broken bones.
As the session entered its closing stages, there were more improvements on the combined order as the field made their final bids for a place in Q2.
Pramac’s Jack Miller had managed a lap good enough for sixth, but had it cancelled for a yellow flag infringement, which dropped him back down to 17th with just a few moments to go.
Maverick Vinales’ Friday best of 1m47.771s went unchallenged on the combined order, although Morbidelli cut his advantage to just 0.088 seconds with a 1m47.859s that moved him up to second overall and fastest in FP3.
Despite his crash, Quartararo still holds a place in Q2 in third, while LCR’s Cal Crutchlow leaped up to fourth overall and second in the session late on with a 1m48.314s.
KTM’s Pol Espargaro was third in FP3 and fifth on the combined times, heading Suzuki’s Joan Mir and Honda’s Alex Marquez, who makes his first appearance in Q2 this year.
Nakagami, the sister Suzuki of Alex Rins and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro rounded out the final Q2 places on the combined order.
Ducati’s Aragon disaster continued on Saturday morning as not one of the six Desmosedicis made it directly into Q2, with Dovizioso the leading runner in 13th on the combined order ahead of Johann Zarco (Avintia), Bagnaia, Avintia’s Tito Rabat, Miller and French GP winner Danilo Petrucci.
|1||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha||Yamaha||1m47.859s|
|2||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||Honda||0.455s|
|6||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||Honda||0.547s|
|9||Miguel Oliveira||Tech3 KTM||KTM||0.895s|
|13||Francesco Bagnaia||Pramac Ducati||Ducati||1.094s|
|15||Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha||Yamaha||1.247s|
|16||Iker Lecuona||Tech3 KTM||KTM||1.344s|
|18||Tito Rabat||Avintia Ducati||Ducati||1.424s|
|20||Jack Miller||Pramac Ducati||Ducati||1.710s|
|21||Johann Zarco||Avintia Ducati||Ducati||2.051s|