Marc Marquez laid down an ominous pace in MotoGP FP3 to top Saturday morning's session from a feisty Bradley Smith.

Having identified rear end feel as the area in need of improvement on Friday afternoon, Marquez posted the fastest time of the weekend with six minutes remaining to keep top spot by 0.029s from the Englishman.

While Smith and a host of others fitted a medium compound rear tyre to set a late time, Marquez stayed on track in race trim throughout, his harder option front and rear tyres good enough to post five of his final six laps in the 1m 32s.

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Bar a brief off-track excursion at turn ten at the start of the session, Marquez was flawless as Friday's nearest rival Jorge Lorenzo ended the morning fifth. Still, Lorenzo spent much of the 45 minutes focusing on race pace. The Majorcan's mid-session 15 lap run yielded ten laps in the low 1m 33s and two in the high 32s.

Ninth at the close of Friday, Smith maintained his position for the majority of the morning until Maverick Vi?ales was the first to fit new rear rubber in a bid to climb the order. Smith's final time, set with just four minutes remaining, was close to a full second better than his Friday effort.

Two riders skating on the precipice of the top ten with minutes remaining, Andrea Iannone and Dani Pedrosa slotted into third and fourth positions, some three tenths of a second back of Marquez.

A tight session in which the top 13 were separated by just one second, Cal Crutchlow maintained his consistently strong pace by ending the session in sixth.

The two Espargaro brothers were next up as Aleix, currently considering the softer option rear tyre for race distance, shot up the order to seventh after a session which once again saw both Suzukis struggle for race pace.

Pol however was left dusting himself down once more after his vicious qualifying high-side on Friday afternoon, the Spaniard crashing out without injury at turn two moments after setting his personal best time.

Valentino Rossi described Friday as one of the most difficult first days of the year but managed to guarantee a spot in Q2 thanks to two fast laps in the final ten minutes. The championship leader had sat as high as third with less than ten minutes remaining after fitting a medium rear tyre. Vi?ales rounded out the top ten.

Notable casualties in the session included Andrea Dovizioso and Scott Redding, who finished twelfth and 13th. Both riders will join the Pramac Ducatis of Yonny Hernandez (eleventh) and Danilo Petrucci (15th) in Q1.