Jack Miller steamrolls his rivals during a dry Free Practice 3 for the 2021 Americas MotoGP at a bumpy COTA.

The Ducati star finished 0.6s clear of Takaaki Nakagami, with Alex Rins third for Suzuki.

The top ten riders after FP3 (combined times) receive direct access to the final part of qualifying, with the likes of Rins' Suzuki team-mate and reigning world champion Joan Mir heading for Qualifying 1.

Marc Marquez, seeking a seventh COTA win this weekend, remained quickest courtesy of his Friday time until fellow Honda rider Nakagami fitted new soft tyres at the midway stage of FP3.

Miller, second to Marquez in both the wet and dry, then took charge of the timesheets ahead of the final ten minutes. But he wasn't finished yet and returned to blast a huge 0.8s clear in the final minutes, before Nakagami improved.

Aleix Espargaro, who yesterday said it's unsafe for MotoGP to race on such a bumpy track, fell on an out-lap in the closing stages and struggled to restart his Aprilia, leaving him 20th. Luca Marini and Alex Marquez were other fallers.

Marc Marquez has a perfect pole record at the Texan track and has won six of the seven MotoGP races, falling while leading in 2019.

Johann Zarco is riding for the first time since arm pump surgery, while Suzuki's reigning champion Joan Mir has a Kevin Schwantz-style helmet and racing number this weekend.

MotoGP is returning to COTA for the first time since the 2019 event, after which further resurfacing work was carried out on around 40% of the track (Turns 1-2, 9-10, 16-19, plus the back straight) to alleviate bumps. However, bikes and riders are still being badly kicked around, especially through Turns 2 and 10.

As a result of the resurfacing and change of date from April, Michelin is providing a fourth rear tyre option (two hard compounds), while wet weather is also forecast.

COTA has the most corners (20) in MotoGP, including the slowest of the season at just 50km/h (Turn 11). The following back straight is the longest in MotoGP at 1.2km and ends with the hardest braking on the calendar, from over 330km/h to less than 60km/h.

Maverick Vinales has withdrawn from the COTA event after the tragic death of his young cousin Dean Berta Vinales in last weekend's Jerez WorldSSP300 race….

Austin MotoGP, COTA - Free Practice (3) Results
Pos RiderNatTeamTime/DiffLapMax
1^1Jack MillerAUSDucati Team (GP21)2'02.923s15/16348k
2^3Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)+0.679s15/16341k
3^6Alex RinsSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+0.804s16/17341k
4˅3Marc MarquezSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+0.881s15/17345k
5^3Johann ZarcoFRAPramac Ducati (GP21)+0.900s15/17346k
6˅3Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.944s13/17340k
7˅3Pol EspargaroSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+1.097s12/12344k
8^3Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM (RC16)+1.117s15/15342k
9˅3Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Team (GP21)+1.202s14/15347k
10˅3Jorge MartinSPAPramac Ducati (GP21)*+1.274s14/15344k
11^7Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM (RC16)+1.337s16/16343k
12˅2Enea BastianiniITAAvintia Ducati (GP19)*+1.504s16/16346k
13=Joan MirSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+1.571s14/16340k
14^1Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+1.587s14/16339k
15^2Valentino RossiITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)+1.937s17/17338k
16^5Iker LecuonaSPAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+1.967s13/14340k
17˅3Andrea DoviziosoITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)+2.387s15/15335k
18˅2Alex MarquezSPALCR Honda (RC213V)+2.616s12/14344k
19=Aleix EspargaroSPAAprilia Gresini (RS-GP)+2.635s3/12346k
20˅8Luca MariniITASky VR46 Avintia Ducati (GP19)*+3.005s3/12342k
21˅1Danilo PetrucciITAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+3.127s11/15339k

* Rookie

Key:
^X Rider is X positions higher than FP2.
= Rider is same position as FP2.
˅X Rider is X positions lower than FP2.

Riders directly to Qualifying 2 - Top 10 Combined Practice Times:
PosRiderNatTeam
1Jack MillerAUSDucati Team (GP21)
2Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)
3Alex RinsESPSuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)
4Marc MarquezESPRepsol Honda (RC213V)
5Johann ZarcoFRAPramac Ducati (GP21)
6Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)
7Pol EspargaroESPRepsol Honda (RC213V)
8Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM (RC16)
9Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Team (GP21)
10Jorge MartinSPAPramac Ducati (GP21)*

Official COTA MotoGP records:
Best lap:
Marc Marquez SPA Honda 2m 2.135s (2015)
Fastest race lap:
Marc Marquez SPA Honda 2m 3.375s (2014)

 

 

By Peter McLaren