Petronas SRT’s Franco Morbidelli dominated a tense third practice for the MotoGP Valencia Grand Prix as both Alex Rins and Fabio Quartararo missed the Q2 cut.

A light sprinkling of rain ahead of the session posed a potential problem for those outside of the top 10 on combined times looking to bag a place in Q2.

Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori set the early pace on wet rubber with a 1m46.614s, but it didn’t take long for the track to be good enough for slicks, with Petronas SRT’s Quartararo the first to take the plunge.

The Frenchman set a string of session-best laps, culminating in a 1m32.037s with around 23 minutes of running remaining.

KTM’s Pol Espargaro took over with a 1m31.897s, before Maverick Vinales moved ahead with a 1m31.615s – these lap times, crucially, not making a dent on the combined order.

However, Morbidelli changed this when he shot to the top of the FP3 order and to fourth on the combined timesheets with a 1m30.751s.

A 1m30.812s from Vinales in the final five minutes moved him up to fifth on the combined times, putting Suzuki rider Rins into the danger zone in 10th.

Meanwhile, his team-mate and championship leader Joan Mir once again was struggling to extract a lap time from fresh soft rubber in the latter stages.

A final effort of 1m30.168s from Morbidelli put him 0.468 seconds clear of the field, with KTM’s Pol Espargaro jumping to second late on.

A late improvement for Johann Zarco in third (which put him fourth overall) on the Avintia Ducati proved disastrous for Quartararo, as it nudged him out of the top 10 places having leaped up to eighth briefly.

For the first time in his MotoGP career, Quartararo will have to go through Q1 alongside the man he sits joint-second in the standings with Rins, who ended up 15th overall having finished 11th in FP3.

Vinales headed Mir, who secured a Q2 place with a late 1m30.734s, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR), Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro rounding out the top eight in FP3 and securing places in Q2.

The top 10 in FP3 was completed by Quartararo and Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci, though both will face Q1, as will Andrea Dovizioso on the sister factory Ducati and Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.

The Pramac duo of Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia were 14th and 16th in FP3, but their laps from FP2 were good enough to secure them places in Q2.

Tech3’s Iker Lecuona was unable to return to action this morning as expected after testing positive for COVID-19.

Valencia GP FP3 results

Pos Rider Team Bike Gap
1 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha Yamaha 1m30.168s
2 Pol Espargaro KTM KTM 0.468s
3 Johann Zarco Avintia Ducati Ducati 0.490s
4 Maverick Vinales Yamaha Yamaha 0.529s
5 Joan Mir Suzuki Suzuki 0.566s
6 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 0.617s
7 Miguel Oliveira Tech3 KTM KTM 0.681s
8 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Aprilia 0.697s
9 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha Yamaha 0.699s
10 Danilo Petrucci Ducati Ducati 0.758s
11 Alex Rins Suzuki Suzuki 0.788s
12 Brad Binder KTM KTM 0.883s
13 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 0.909s
14 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati Ducati 0.960s
15 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 1.067s
16 Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Ducati Ducati 1.112s
17 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 1.204s
18 Alex Marquez Honda Honda 1.372s
19 Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati Ducati 1.546s
20 Stefan Bradl Honda Honda 1.774s
21 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia Aprilia 2.364s

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