Marquez heads Miller in rain-affected practice
Marc Marquez pipped rising Australian star Jack Miller in a rain-affected third practice for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
While new world champion Marquez topped the timesheet 0.05s faster than local hope Miller, Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo struggled and will have to qualify through Q1.
Rossi finished 12th fastest with team-mate Lorenzo last of the 21 riders.
Rain fell on and off throughout the hour-long session, which was extended after poor weather saw yesterday’s second practice abandoned.
Times initially tumbled relative to Friday efforts on a drying track.
Marquez took his Repsol Honda to the top just as light rain began to fall again after nine minutes, with stand-in team-mate Nicky Hayden moving to second shortly after.
Miller braved the drizzle with slick tyres on his Marc VDS Honda, moving up to second position just beyond the quarter-hour mark as most ran on intermediate rubber.
A spell of heavier rain followed again, before the Australian was one of the first to back on slicks as he set back-to-back fastest laps with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Marquez, however, regained the ascendancy shortly after as he set a trend of an intermediate front tyre and slick rear.
With the lap coming just as showers started again, Marquez’s time remained unchallenged as only a handful of riders, Lorenzo included, circulated on a wet track in the final 10 minutes.
The outgoing world champion had failed to make an impact on the timing screens at any point during the session, and he and Rossi both go into Q1 as a factory Yamaha pair for the first time ever.
While combined times from the first three practice sessions determine the start list for Q1, each rider set their personal best laps during FP3.
Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki Ecstar), Pol Espargaro (Tech 3 Yamaha), and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) completed the top five.
Australian wildcard Mike Jones overshadowed his more experienced Avintia Ducati team-mate Loris Baz to finish in 18th position.
Free Practice 4 takes place at 1430 AEDT, immediately followed by Q1 and Q2.
Result: MotoGP Australian Grand Prix Practice 3
|1||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1’33.155|
|2||Jack MILLER||AUS||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||1’33.209||0.054 / 0.054|
|3||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1’34.399||1.244 / 1.190|
|4||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1’34.650||1.495 / 0.251|
|5||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1’34.721||1.566 / 0.071|
|6||Scott REDDING||GBR||OCTO Pramac Yakhnich||Ducati||1’34.852||1.697 / 0.131|
|7||Stefan BRADL||GER||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1’34.914||1.759 / 0.062|
|8||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1’35.189||2.034 / 0.275|
|9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||OCTO Pramac Yakhnich||Ducati||1’35.269||2.114 / 0.080|
|10||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1’35.300||2.145 / 0.031|
|11||Maverick VIÑALES||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1’35.364||2.209 / 0.064|
|12||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1’35.463||2.308 / 0.099|
|13||Eugene LAVERTY||IRL||Pull & Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||1’35.736||2.581 / 0.273|
|14||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1’36.029||2.874 / 0.293|
|15||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda||Honda||1’36.189||3.034 / 0.160|
|16||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1’36.351||3.196 / 0.162|
|17||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Pull & Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||1’36.447||3.292 / 0.096|
|18||Mike JONES||AUS||Avintia Racing||Ducati||1’36.756||3.601 / 0.309|
|19||Loris BAZ||FRA||Avintia Racing||Ducati||1’37.193||4.038 / 0.437|
|20||Tito RABAT||SPA||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||1’38.012||4.857 / 0.819|
|21||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1’38.318||5.163 / 0.306|