As the wet conditions persisted at Portimao, Miguel Oliveira led the way in the third practice session, with Marc Marquez among those who were thrown off their bikes.
The rain continued to fall on the Algarve International Circuit, but Miguel Oliveira beat the odds and rose to the top of the times, while points leader Enea Bastianini will have to navigate Q1.
While the track was wet at the start of the session, the conditions were marginally better than the first two practice sessions on Friday, allowing several riders to improve their timings in the pursuit of a top ten finish and a guaranteed berth in the pole shootout.
Oliveira was quick out of the gate, posting the quickest lap of the weekend – a 1:50.583s – before slicing another 0.031s off his best time on his next tour, a mark that would continue unmatched when the rain returned with a force just before half-way through the 45-minute session.
Suzuki’s Joan Mir also improved, finishing second overall just ahead of a surprising Fabio Quartararo, who managed to find some speed on his Yamaha to finish third overall and earn an automatic Q2 ticket.
Brad Binder on the other factory KTM improved to fourth quickest ahead of Johann Zarco, while Aleix Espargaro improved to sixth fastest in the session, good for ninth overall as he was the last guy to improve before the rain resumed, Jack Miller followed in seventh place.
Marquez, who missed the majority of the session due to an early collision at Turn 8 in which he high-sided badly, the six-time premier class champion banging his head on impact, was eighth in the session.
He was able to bike his Honda back to the pits shortly after and appeared to be in fighting shape, though only time would tell if his crash would have any long-term consequences for the rest of the weekend.
Franco Morbidelli was ninth fastest, but his time was only good for 14th in the combined timings, requiring him to compete in Q1; the VR46 Ducati rider completed the top ten despite a late accident at Turn 1.
Pol Espargaro will also qualify for Q2 thanks to his best time from FP2 – which placed him sixth in the combined standings – and will be joined by Bezzecchi, Zarco, Aleix, and Miller.
Maverick Vinales on the sister Aprilia came close to earning an automatic Q2 promotion when he held the final slot in tenth until teammate Aleix improved his benchmark just seconds before the rain began to fall, leaving Vinales 11th.
Ducati’s Jorge Martin and Francesco Bagnaia will also have to fight for one of the final two Q2 spots after being relegated to 12th and 13th overall, respectively, while Portimao’s Alex Marquez will also compete in Q1 after setting the 15th best overall time.
Meanwhile, series leader Enea Bastianini struggled to find speed in the slick conditions, finishing 19th overall behind Andrea Dovizioso and Tech 3 KTM rookie Remy Gardner, while Alex Rins’ second GSX-RR Suzuki finished a distant 22nd.
As the rain intensified in the second half of the session, the grip deteriorated substantially, prompting numerous riders to succumb to the conditions.
Both the Binder brothers were involved in separate incidents, with Brad high-siding at Turn 8 and Darryn Binder of RNF Yamaha going down later after losing the front of his M1 at Turn 3.
Gardner was also involved in an incident, with the reigning Moto2 world champion collapsing at Turn 7 as the session came to a close.
MOTOGP PORTIMAO, PORTUGAL – FREE PRACTICE (3) RESULTS
|1||Miguel Oliveira||POR||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||1’50.552s||9/15||322k|
|2||Joan Mir||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+0.049s||7/9||327k|
|3||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.054s||8/13||324k|
|4||Brad Binder||RSA||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+0.107s||12/16||326k|
|5||Johann Zarco||FRA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||+0.691s||9/15||334k|
|6||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+0.696s||11/15||330k|
|7||Jack Miller||AUS||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||+0.701s||5/17||333k|
|8||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+0.833s||4/6||325k|
|9||Franco Morbidelli||ITA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.903s||8/19||325k|
|10||Marco Bezzecchi||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP21)*||+0.959s||8/16||333k|
|11||Alex Marquez||SPA||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+1.015s||5/15||328k|
|12||Francesco Bagnaia||ITA||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||+1.298s||7/14||328k|
|13||Luca Marini||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)||+1.323s||8/17||327k|
|14||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+1.346s||8/17||330k|
|15||Raul Fernandez||SPA||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||+1.350s||8/15||323k|
|16||Alex Rins||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+1.409s||7/15||332k|
|17||Jorge Martin||SPA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||+1.601s||7/16||327k|
|18||Remy Gardner||AUS||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||+1.695s||7/13||320k|
|19||Maverick Viñales||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+1.744s||7/13||328k|
|20||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+2.068s||6/9||328k|
|21||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)||+2.180s||5/14||325k|
|22||Darryn Binder||RSA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)*||+2.700s||6/12||323k|
|23||Enea Bastianini||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)||+2.861s||4/14||332k|
|24||Lorenzo Savadori||ITA||Aprilia Test Rider (RS-GP)||+3.228s||5/14||326k|
|25||Fabio Di Giannantonio||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)*||+3.814s||12/18||329k|