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Franco Morbidelli rebounded to the top of the MotoGP World Championship timesheets in third free practice for the Valencia MotoGP, the Italian making his mark late on after rain at the start of the session.

The Petronas SRT Yamaha rider, who still has a slim mathematical chance of the 2020 MotoGP title, powered to the top with a best of 1m 30.168secs, almost half a second clear of the competition, when conditions improved towards the closing stages following earlier scattered showers.

Bidding to sign off from KTM in style over the next two events, Pol Espargaro – a pole sitter last weekend – was second fastest, from Johann Zarco on the Avintia Ducati and Maverick Vinales on the best of the factory Yamahas.

Championship favourite Joan Mir rebounded back into the top ten having been left 12th overnight, the Suzuki rider’s late fight-back coinciding with Alex Rins failing to make the Q2 cut down in 11th place. Fabio Quartararo, who is level on points with Rins in second overall, still has a shot at pole after setting the ninth best time.

Takaaki Nakagami led the Honda charge in sixth place, with Miguel Oliveira giving Tech 3 KTM a welcome boost with a direct Q2 route following the news Iker Lecuona has been sidelined with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

Aleix Espargaro ensured all six manufacturers would be represented in Q2 on the Aprilia, ahead of Quartararo and Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci.

Elsewhere, Brad Binder, Cal Crutchlow and FP2 pace setter Jack Miller will be among those to fight over the two remaining Q2 spots via Q1, together with Andrea Dovizioso, whose late season qualifying struggles continued in Spain. 



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