Francesco Bagnaia topped third practice for the MotoGP Styrian Grand Prix, as Yamaha duo Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales almost came to blows.
Perfect conditions for FP3 meant combined order lap time improvements came immediately, Pramac rookie Jorge Martin making the biggest jump on his Ducati early on.
Martin fired in a 1m23.834s to, an improvement of well over a second from his Friday best, to go second overall and move into the lead of the individual session timesheet.
After 10 minutes of the 45-minute session, all but four riders had improved on the combined order, with Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales taking over top spot with a 1m23.781s moments later.
This lap stood as the benchmark for around the next 10 minutes before world champion Joan Mir, using Suzuki’s new ride height adjuster, moved ahead with a 1m23.599s having one out on a fresh soft tyre early.
Both Mir and Alex Rins have one of the new ride height device each this weekend.
Another 10 minutes passed before top spot changed hands again, this time Marc Marquez on his Honda doing the honours with a 1m23.513s.
But it was a short-lived stint for the Spaniard, as Yamaha-mounted compatriot Vinales returned to the top of the order with a 1m23.475s.
Vinales found more time on his following effort with a 1m23.375s to extend his advantage over Marquez to a slender 0.138 seconds.
Teammate and championship leader Fabio Quartararo was nudged out of the top 10 as the session reached its final five minutes having had a difficult session on his M1.
Quartararo struggled on a number of occasions to get his bike stopped into the Turn 3 right-hander, the Frenchman visibly becoming frustrated with his plight.
On one occasion Quartararo almost clattered into Vinales, leaving the latter fuming as the pair entered pitlane in the closing stages of the session.
With just under three minutes to go Quartararo leaped up to second with a 1m23.416s, but had that lap cancelled for a track limits violation, dumping him back to 15th.
His following effort of 1m23.142s returned him to top spot and safely secured him a place in Q2 in qualifying.
But it was the Ducati of Bagnaia who would end the session fastest of all with a last-gasp 1m23.114s, the Italian heading Quartararo and Vinales at the chequered flag.
Jorge Martin was fourth fastest to get his first Q2 appearance since Germany – though the Spaniard did have an embarrassing low-speed tumble at Turn 1 at the end of the session.
Mir completed the top five on his updated Suzuki ahead of Pramac’s Johann Zarco and the leading Honda of Marc Marquez, while Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, Ducati’s Jack Miller and Friday pacesetter Takaaki Nakagami on the LCR Honda secured the final Q2 places.
Pol Espargaro on the sister factory Honda was denied a Q2 place by just 0.017s, while wildcard Dani Pedrosa was the leading KTM in 12th in a difficult session for the Austrian marque on home soil.
Brad Binder was the next best KTM in 15th, trailing LCR’s Alex Marquez and Suzuki’s Alex Rins, while last year’s Styria winner Miguel Oliveira was 16th as he battled through a wrist injury.
Avintia’s Luca Marini was the only other crasher in FP3, the rookie 21st as a result behind teammate Enea Bastianini and a head of Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori.
STYRIAN MOTOGP, AUSTRIA – FREE PRACTICE (3) RESULTS
|1||Francesco Bagnaia||ITA||Ducati Team (GP21)||1’23.114s||23/23||318k|
|2||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.028s||23/24||310k|
|3||Maverick Viñales||SPA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.148s||21/21||311k|
|4||Jorge Martin||SPA||Pramac Ducati (GP21)*||+0.180s||20/20||317k|
|5||Joan Mir||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+0.273s||22/23||309k|
|6||Johann Zarco||FRA||Pramac Ducati (GP21)||+0.373s||20/22||316k|
|7||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+0.399s||16/21||315k|
|8||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)||+0.480s||16/19||311k|
|9||Jack MILLER||AUS||Ducati Team (GP21)||+0.617s||23/23||315k|
|10||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+0.626s||20/22||313k|
|11||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+0.643s||20/21||319k|
|12||Dani Pedrosa||SPA||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+0.644s||21/23||313k|
|13||Alex Rins||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+0.652s||19/24||309k|
|14||Alex Marquez||SPA||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+0.675s||23/24||316k|
|15||Brad Binder||RSA||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+0.685s||22/22||313k|
|16||Miguel Oliveira||POR||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+0.821s||20/22||310k|
|17||Iker Lecuona||SPA||KTM Tech3 (RC16)||+1.045s||19/21||309k|
|18||Danilo Petrucci||ITA||KTM Tech3 (RC16)||+1.228s||19/21||308k|
|19||Valentino Rossi||ITA||Petronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+1.267s||21/21||306k|
|20||Enea Bastianini||ITA||Avintia Ducati (GP19)*||+1.270s||20/22||314k|
|21||Luca Marini||ITA||Sky VR46 Avintia Ducati (GP19)*||+1.289s||18/18||311k|
|22||Lorenzo Salvadori||ITA||Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)*||+1.323s||22/23||310k|
|23||Cal Crutchlow||GBR||Petronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+1.530s||18/21||305k|