Francesco Bagnaia turns the tables on Fabio Quartararo during Free Practice 3 for the Algarve MotoGP at a cold and windy Portimao.

New world champion Quartararo just got the better of nearest championship rival Bagnaia in both Friday sessions, and the contest cntinued in FP3 when the Ducati rider edged out the Yamaha by just 0.001s!

The close times continued with Joan Mir just 0.025s from the top in third, less than half-a-second covering the top ten and 0.867s covering the top 16!

Jack Miller, in fourth, was captured getting some air time this morning:

The injured Franco Morbidelli - who has an impressive record at the circuit - and Luca Marini were among the biggest improvers this morning in sixth and ninth.

The top ten riders after FP3 (combined times) receive direct access to the second and final part of qualifying, with the likes of Johann Zarco and home hero Miguel Oliveira heading for Qualifying 1.

Marc Marquez, winner of the past two MotoGP rounds, is missing the event after still feeling 'unwell' several days after sustaining a 'slight concussion' while training on an off-road bike. Marquez is replaced by test rider Stefan Bradl.

The hard front tyre option has been changed from the disliked asymmetric version selected for April's Portimao round, to a symmetric hard compound.

Oliveira, winner of last November's inaugural Portimao race while using a symmetric hard front, was one of those to struggled badly with the revised tyre allocation in April, when Quartararo dominated the race from Bagnaia and Mir.

Although Quartararo has already wrapped up the 2021 riders' title, with Bagnaia and Mir on course for second and third, Ducati and Yamaha remain locked in a close battle for victory in the teams' and constructors' championships.

Algarve MotoGP, Portimao - Free Practice (3) Results
Pos RiderNatTeamTime/DiffLapMax
1^1Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Team (GP21)1'39.202s15/18339k
2˅1Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.001s20/20330k
3^1Joan MirSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+0.025s13/16332k
4˅1Jack MillerAUSDucati Team (GP21)+0.160s18/19344k
5^2Alex MarquezSPALCR Honda (RC213V)+0.173s19/20336k
6^6Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.274s19/19328k
7^3Alex RinsSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+0.348s19/20336k
8˅3Pol EspargaroSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+0.350s17/18339k
9^6Luca MariniITASky VR46 Avintia Ducati (GP19)*+0.378s17/18336k
10^1Jorge MartinSPAPramac Ducati (GP21)*+0.461s17/19341k
11˅2Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)+0.466s18/19338k
12^8Iker LecuonaSPAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+0.681s18/19335k
13^3Enea BastianiniITAAvintia Ducati (GP19)*+0.734s16/18334k
14˅8Johann ZarcoFRAPramac Ducati (GP21)+0.793s18/19340k
15^4Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM (RC16)+0.859s18/19332k
16˅3Danilo PetrucciITAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+1.005s17/17332k
17^4Valentino RossiITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)+1.011s18/19335k
18˅1Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM (RC16)+1.011s17/17334k
19˅1Stefan BradlGERRepsol Honda (RC213V)+1.080s20/20338k
20^2Andrea DoviziosoITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)+1.162s19/19334k
21˅7Maverick ViñalesSPAAprilia Gresini (RS-GP)+1.414s13/15332k
22˅14Aleix EspargaroSPAAprilia Gresini (RS-GP)+1.624s4/18341k

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

* Rookie

Riders directly to Qualifying 2 - Top 10 Combined Practice Times:
1Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Team (GP21)
2Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)
3Joan MirSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)
4Jack MillerAUSDucati Team (GP21)
5Alex MarquezESPLCR Honda (RC213V)
6Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)
7Alex RinsESPSuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)
8Pol EspargaroESPRepsol Honda (RC213V)
9Luca MariniITASky VR46 Avintia (GP19)*
10Jorge MartinSPAPramac Ducati (GP21)*

Official Portimao MotoGP records:
Best lap:
Fabio Quartararo FRA Yamaha 1m 38.862s (2021)
Fastest race lap:
Alex Rins SPA Suzuki 1m 39.450s (2021)

By Peter McLaren