Phillip Island played up to having its 'four seasons in one day' stereotype on Saturday, as the MotoGP field had to contend with ever-changing weather conditions in the hour-long morning session.
By the end of FP3 – extended by 15 minutes after Friday's events were halted due to incessant rain – Marc Marquez was narrowly fastest, with home hero Jack Miller again showing strongly in second in front of a sizeable home support, just 0.054s off top spot.
Such were the conditions that changed from minute to minute, every tyre in Michelin's allocation was used in the morning session – slicks, intermediates and wets - bar the harder rear slick, as the track ventured from wet to damp to dry to wet.
Rain began to fall heavily two thirds of the way into the session, rendering the final 20 minutes useless. By then Marquez had knocked Miller off top spot, their fastest times some five seconds slower than lap record pace.
Marquez was the first rider to exit pit lane on intermediates as the track dried early on. His ability to get heat into new tyres on a cold track was, like his race performance at the Sachsenring, staggering, as he opened up a four second advantage over the field.
Miller then emerged on slicks and eventually lowered his time to lead, until Marquez switched to an intermediate front/rear slick combination, which was enough to go top.
As the session neared its end both Movistar Yamahas were floundering outside the top ten. This afternoon will be Valentino Rossi (twelfth) and Jorge Lorenzo's (21st) second appearances in Q1.
Aleix Espargaro timed his fast time to perfection, climbing to third, a place ahead of brother Pol. Andrea Dovizioso and Scott Redding made up the top six, while Stefan Bradl was seventh, despite a mid-session fall at turn four.
Nicky Hayden continued to impress, ending the session in eighth, while Danilo Petrucci and Hector Barbera ensured four Ducatis automatically qualified for Q2.
Other than Lorenzo and Rossi, Viñales was another high profile name to miss the top ten cut. The 21-year old enters Q1 for the first time in 2016, where he will also have to contend with Eugene Laverty (13th), Alvaro Bautista (14th), Cal Crutchlow (15th) and Bradley Smith (16th) for a top-two place.
Along with placing outside the top ten, Viñales also suffered embarrassment while distracted by a trackside screen entering pit lane. The Spaniard temporarily took his eye from the track and ran off, falling at slow speed.
Stefan Bradl, Alvaro Bautista and Tito Rabat also fell during the session.
FP3:1. Marc Marquez
2. Jack Miller
3. Aleix Espargaro
4. Pol Espargaro
5. Andrea Dovizioso
6. Scott Redding
7. Stefan Bradl
8. Nicky Hayden
9. Danilo Petrucci
10. Hector Barbera
11. Maverick Viñales
12. Valentino Rossi
13. Eugene Laverty
14. Alvaro Bautista
15. Cal Crutchlow
16. Bradley Smith
17. Yonny Hernandez
18. Mike Jones
19. Loris Baz
20. Tito Rabat
21. Jorge Lorenzo
CLICK HERE for full results.