Valentino Rossi topped a crash-strewn third practice for his home MotoGP San Marino Grand Prix, while Cal Crutchlow has been ruled out of the weekend through injury.
Crutchlow had arm pump surgery after the Styrian Grand Prix last month, but has been suffering with a build up of fluid in his right arm since.
With the swelling worsening after his first day on his LCR Honda on Friday, Crutchlow was declared unfit by doctors to continue with the San Marino Grand Prix.
Typically, improvements on the combined timesheets in the opening half of FP3 were few and far between, with Suzuki’s Joan Mir the first serious mover with a 1m32.906s to go eighth overall.
Petronas SRT’s Fabio Quartararo led the individual timesheets at the halfway stage with a 1m32.660s, with no one at that point putting his Friday best under threat.
However, with just under 11 minutes to go, Pramac’s Jack Miller began to light up the timing screens and hooked the lap together to take over top spot on the combined times with a 1m32.129s.
With three minutes to go, Quartararo set the first sub 1m32s lap of the weekend with a 1m31.961s.
Maverick Vinales on the works team Yamaha bettered this in the dying stages with a 1m31.936s, but team-mate Rossi – sporting a special Viagra-themed helmet design – was soon putting this under threat on his final lap.
Having dropped to 15th after aborting an earlier decent effort, Rossi produced a 1m31.861s to end the session fastest of all ahead of Vinales and Quartararo.
Miller held onto fourth despite a late crash at the last corner, with the Suzuki pairing of Alex Rins and Mir completing the top six.
The returning Francesco Bagnaia bagged a place in Q2 in seventh on his Pramac Ducati, with Johann Zarco (Avintia), SRT’s Franco Morbidelli and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.
KTM’s Pol Espargaro was the big loser in that session, as a late crash at Turn 13 left him unable to defend his top 10 position.
He will face Q1 later this afternoon after ending FP3 13th behind brother Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia, with LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami, Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci, Tech3’s Iker Lecuona – who also crashed during the session – and Brad Binder (KTM) all to face the first part of qualifying.
Aprilia’s Bradley Smith was the other faller, leaving him 20th.
San Marino MotoGP FP3 results
|3||Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha||0.100s|
|4||Jack Miller||Pramac Ducati||0.268s|
|7||Francesco Bagnaia||Pramac Ducati||0.387s|
|8||Johann Zarco||Avintia Ducati||0.407s|
|9||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha||0.420s|
|13||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||0.769s|
|15||Iker Lecuona||Tech3 KTM||0.841s|
|16||Miguel Oliveira||Tech3 KTM||0.930s|
|19||Tito Rabat||Avintia Ducati||1.409s|