Johann Zarco gave a standout performance at a wet Ricardo Tormo after more rain fell overnight to finish the session top, but Jack Miller’s Friday best remained unbeaten after FP3 for the European MotoGP round at Valencia.
The pace on a drying track in FP2 yesterday gave all the MotoGP riders the confidence to push their times on. The effort they put in then in anticipation of more wet weather saw the combined times remain untouched.
That leaves Miller leading the way with three practice sessions complete with his FP2 lap of 1m 32.528s the best of the weekend so far.
The Pramac Ducati rider was fast in whatever Friday threw at him and was so confident his time would hold that he was the only rider not to set a time in FP3. The Australian instead spent his time sitting in the pits watching the action and removing the risk of a crash to his set-up.
On track it was Johann Zarco who found the conditions to his liking, repeatedly lowering his benchmark in the wet as a dry line eventually began to appear to top the timesheets with a 1m 40.007s.
The Esponsorama Racing rider was given a late challenge by Maverick Vinales, who started the session looking at his Monster Energy Yamaha’s set up before a time attack toward the end moved him to 0.736s behind the impressive Frenchman.
Regardless of his performance today, Vinales will endure a pit lane start after taking a sixth engine for the weekend. The Spaniard also has several members of his team missing after a positive Covid-19 test amongst the Yamaha crew.
Teruel pole man Takaaki Nakagami continued to build on his better FP2 performance with a good run in the wet. After finishing Friday fourth overall he was third in the morning session for LCR Honda.
His team-mate Cal Crutchlow rode through the pain barrier once again after damaging his shoulder ligaments at the last round. Following a disappointing late drop to twelfth yesterday after having his last lap cancelled due to it being set under yellow flag conditions the Brit was back on the pace in fifth in FP3.
They were split by Francesco Bagnaia, fourth for the Pramac man a highlight so far as he endures another tough weekend on the Ducati.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda) were sixth and seventh but it was too little too late as they could not find the same form in FP2, sealing their Q1 participation.
FP3 marked Valentino Rossi’s return to action after needing to post a further negative Covid-19 test before he could participate.
Back aboard the Monster Energy Yamaha machine the Italian looked as if he’d never been away, but with no previous time to his name his eighth in FP3 sits at the bottom of the overall standings.
Danilo Petrucci was unable to recover any time after his crash on Friday afternoon, where on sprinting to the pits he discovered his second bike was not ready. The Italian was 16th in the wet for Ducati, well behind his factory team-mate Andrea Dovizioso who claimed 12th.
Title hopeful Fabio Quartararo was all at sea at the soaked Valencia track, he made several set up changes, but nothing seemed to give him more confidence on the bike in the wet – he was 19th at the close of the session with only Brad Binder posting a lesser effort.
Iker Lecuona is absent from the weekend action, following his brother’s positive coronavirus test.