Valentino Rossi set the fastest time in Free Practice 3 for his home MotoGP event to set up a thrilling qualifying session for the San Marino Grand Prix.
Rossi set a 1:31.861s on his final lap to top the session ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team-mate Maverick Vinales, albeit by 0.075s.
Friday fast man and championship leader Fabio Quartararo was a further 0.025s back in third, with Yamaha sweeping all three practice sessions so far.
Jack Miller showed pace for Pramac Racing to send his Ducati to the top on combined times with 11 minutes to go, before Quartararo set the first sub 1m32s lap of the weekend with a 1:31.961s with three minutes remaining.
Vinales went better with his 1:31.936s, before nine-time world champion Rossi emerged to set the fastest time, the lap coming after the Italian had dropped to 15th following his earlier effort.
Miller crashed at the final corner, yet managed to hold onto fourth ahead of Team Suzuki Ecstar teammates Alex Rins and Joan Mir.
Returning from injury, Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia ended up seventh ahead of Johann Zarco (Avintia), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati).
A late crash for KTM factory rider Pol Espargaro left the Spaniard 13th and facing Q1, with Tech3’s Iker Lecuona and Aprilia’s Bradley Smith also falling in the session.
The news was no better for LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, who has been ruled out of the weekend through injury.
The Briton had arm pump surgery after last month’s Styrian Grand Prix last month, but a fluid build-up in his arm post-surgery – leading to severe swelling – forced him to abandon this weekend’s race.
Riders will return for FP4 at 21:30 AEST ahead of qualifying at 22:10 AEST.