Francesco Bagnaia fastest during a dry Free Practice 3 for the 2021 San Marino MotoGP at Misano.

Dry and sunny weather after Friday's heavy downpours meant Maverick Vinales' day one pace was soon beaten, by last weekend's winner Bagnaia and title leader Fabio Quartararo.

New Aprilia rider Vinales fought back to regain P1, but couldn't quite match the hottest pace on new tryes at the end of the session.

Nonetheless, Vinales held onto a strong fifth - behind Bagnaia, Quartararo, Jack Miller and Joan Mir - with team-mate Aleix Espargaro completing the top six.

Alex Rins made it two Suzukis straight through to Qualifying 2 with Johann Zarco, the top Honda of Pol Espargaro (after a track limits penalty for Takaaki Nakagami), Jorge Martin and Ducati wild-card Michele Pirro completing the top ten.

Marc Marquez, who battled Bagnaia to the line last weekend but continues to struggle with pain and weakness in his right shoulder, will be headin to Qualifying 1 after a fall in Turn 14 while trying to break into the top ten.

Tech3 KTM's Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona also fell in the closing minutes.

Franco Morbidelli is making a return from knee surgery for his debut at Monster Yamaha, as Vinales' full-time replacement alongside Fabio Quartararo.

Taking over Morbidelli's ex-Petronas Yamaha A-spec bike is triple MotoGP title runner-up Andrea Dovizioso, the former Ducati star also remaining at what will be a renamed RNF Racing team for 2022.

Dovizioso climbed from 24th and +2.5s, to 21st and +1.138s

Test riders Stefan Bradl (Honda) and Pirro (Ducati) are making wild-card appearances.

A two-day official test will be held next week while the second Misano round, also the final home MotoGP appearance for local legend Valentino Rossi, will take place on October 22-24.

As traditional, Rossi unveiled a special helmet design on Saturday morning at his home GP, this time featuring a pink bow for the father-to-be.

The Italian legend walked away from a fast fall at Turn 13 on his way to 19th.

 

By Peter McLaren