Marc Marquez left it late to post the fastest time in MotoGP FP3, as the Spaniard demoted team-mate Dani Pedrosa to second with his final flying lap in a dramatic morning session at Brno.

The reigning world champion’s time of 1m 55.370s was enough to claim top spot by 0.171s, after Pedrosa had made the early running in the session, his 1m 55.541s coming with just over ten minutes gone. That lap preceded a fall for the Spaniard at turn eight, thankfully without harm.

The final order makes for pleasing reading for the Repsol Honda pairing that tested here in mid-July, but race pace suggests Movistar Yamaha pairing Valentino Rossi (third) and Maverick Viñales (fourth), Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso (fifth) and Johann Zarco (eighth) – an early crasher at turn three - aren’t far away.

All men were able to run laps in the high 1m 56s / low 1m 57s, with Viñales perhaps the best placed, as he showed real improvements from yesterday, when he complained of a lack of braking and turning ability.

The top eight riders were closely packed together on the time sheets too, with Zarco’s best lap just over half a second slower than Marquez’s. After Dovizioso – Friday’s fastest man -, Cal Crutchlow was sixth, with Aleix Espargaro benefiting from Aprilia’s raft of updates, in seventh.

Jorge Lorenzo continued with Ducati’s radical fairing, which aided his path to the ninth fastest time, while Loris Baz was an impressive tenth, despite crashing late on.

The session was but five minutes old when red flags were shown. Alvaro Bautista’s Ducati GP16 was seen depositing fluid on the run to turn 10, with the Spaniard eventually falling in the gravel.

Marquez and Crutchlow both crashed on the fluid too, necessitating a stoppage as marshals replaced a trackside air-fence that Crutchlow’s Honda had hit with real force.

Q1 will therefore feature Jonas Folger (eleventh), Andrea Iannone (twelfth), Bautista (15th), Danilo Petrucci (16th), who also ran a radical new Ducati fairing, and Scott Redding (19th), who crashed late on at turn five.


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