Marc Marquez showed he will be contender for the race win on Sunday no matter the conditions after dominating a wet FP3 at Phillip Island, before a late fall interrupted his momentum.

The current championship leader appeared unharmed after a relatively low speed crash at Siberia. Fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo wasn’t so fortunate, the Ducati man clipping a white line on the inside of turn eight, resulting in a fast tumble through the gravel. Although able to walk, the Majorcan appeared to tweak a knee in the crash.

Before then, Lorenzo appeared more adept in the wet than he had in the dry the day before, leading the way early on as the clouds rolled in off the Pacific. That was until Marquez found his rhythm. The Repsol Honda rider was a full eight tenths faster than the rest for much of the session until the beginnings of a dry line appeared in the final five minutes.

That allowed Johann Zarco, an early crasher on the exit of turn ten, to halve Marquez’s advantage when the chequered flag was readied. Pol Espargaro carried his speed over from an impressive FP2, the Catalan ending the Saturday morning session in third.

Karel Abraham (fourth), Danilo Petrucci (fifth), Dani Pedrosa (sixth) and Cal Crutchlow (seventh) all headed championship challenger Andrea Dovizioso, with the Italian unable to lap the Phillip Island track within a second of Marquez’s best. Hector Barbera and Jack Miller completed the top ten.

There would be no major breakthrough for Movistar Yamaha in wet conditions here, with factory men Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales struggling to the twelfth and 13th fastest times, one and two places behind Lorenzo (eleventh) respectively.

Andrea Iannone was another rider to fall, the Italian coming undone at the Honda hairpin before placing an underwhelming 22nd, a place ahead of Friday pace setter Aleix Espargaro, who ended the morning 23rd.


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