Quartararo tops FP3 at Aragon MotoGP, Miller survives scare

Fabio Quartararo. Picture: MotoGP.com

Fabio Quartararo has set the pace in Free Practice 3 for the Aragon MotoGP round while Jack Miller also earned direct passage to Qualifying 2 despite a nervous moment.

Quartararo blazed to a 1:46.926s on his Monster Energy Yamaha just before the chequered flag flew on the 45-minute session at MotorLand Aragon to reclaim top spot from Joan Mir.

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro subsequently went second-fastest on a 1:46.949s, while Suzuki Ecstar’s Mir Saturday morning work lifted himself from 21st after Friday practice to third with a 1:46.982s.

Aleix Espargaro was fastest early with a 1:49.383s before Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) clocked a 1:48.418s and then Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda) a 1:48.403s.

Mir moved himself to the top of the FP3 classification with an eighth-minute 1:48.382s on soft-soft tyres, although that was only good enough to creep up to 16th on combined times.

Nakagami improved to a 1:48.098s on his following lap, and Mir to a 1:48.161s, although the latter was still a position outside the top 10 with that effort.

The time attacks started with around 20 minutes remaining, Aleix Espargaro improving his time to a 1:48.141s but staying second in the combined classification.

Nakagami, with a new medium-soft combination, then knocked Friday fast man Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) off his perch with a 1:47.394s and 1:47.317s on consecutive laps.

As he did so, Mir lifted himself to second with a 1:47.410s on the same tyre combination, which was soon established as the pick of the field.

Alex Marquez (Castrol LCR Honda) rose to fourth combined with a 1:47.673s on the half-hour mark and a 1:47.615s next time around.

Championship leader Quartararo then fired in a 1:47.385s and 1:47.046s as factory Yamaha team-mate Cal Crutchlow elevated himself to third with a 1:47.354s.

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) jumped up 12 spots to second with a 1:47.237s in the 36th minute and was first courtesy of a 1:46.984s on his following lap.

Marc Marquez hauled himself back into the top 10 with a 1:47.185s, before Mir took over the ascendancy with a 1:46.982s in the final five minutes.

Aleix Espargaro took over fourth, a gain of seven positions, with a 1:47.142s, but was usurped a couple of minutes later by Pol Espargaro’s 1:47.134s on his Repsol Honda.

Aleix Espargaro clocked a 1:46.989s in the second-last minute to go third before Quartararo set the 1:46.926s that would not be beaten.

Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) then bumped fellow Ducati rider Miller out of the top 10 by going fifth with a 1:47.120s, but the Queenslander bettered that with a 1:47.045s moments later.

There was a question mark over whether the laps would be scrubbed given Alex Marquez had not long crashed and triggered yellow flags, but the times stood.

Aleix Espargaro was fourth when the chequered flag flew but subsequently gained two more positions, leaving Mir third, from Bagnaia, Miller, Martin, and Pol Espargaro.

Marc Marquez got through in eighth despite a crash at Turn 14 on his final lap, while Nakagami and Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama Ducati) rounded out the top 10.

Big names going into Qualifying 1 include Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) in 11th, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) in 13th, and Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) in 14th.

Maverick Viñales progressed to 17th on his second day at a grand prix with Aprilia.

Free Practice 4 starts at 21:30, leading into Qualifying 1 at 22:10 (all times AEST).

Practice: Aragon MotoGP Combined times

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time Session
1 20 F.QUARTARARO FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:46.926 FP3
2 41 A.ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1:46.949 FP3
3 36 J.MIR SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:46.982 FP3
4 63 F.BAGNAIA ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1:46.984 FP3
5 43 J.MILLER AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1:47.059 FP3
6 89 J.MARTIN SPA Pramac Racing Ducati 1:47.120 FP3
7 44 P.ESPARGARO SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:47.134 FP3
8 93 M.MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:47.185 FP3
9 30 T.NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1:47.256 FP3
10 23 E.BASTIANINI ITA Avintia Esponsorama Ducati 1:47.276 FP3
11 5 J.ZARCO FRA Pramac Racing Ducati 1:47.328 FP3
12 35 C.CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:47.353 FP3
13 88 M.OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:47.389 FP3
14 42 A.RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:47.396 FP3
15 46 V.ROSSI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1:47.551 FP3
16 73 A.MARQUEZ SPA LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 1:47.673 FP3
17 12 M.VIÑALES SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1:47.789 FP3
18 33 B.BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:47.805 FP3
19 27 I.LECUONA SPA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:47.829 FP3
20 10 L.MARINI ITA SKY VR46 Avintia Ducati 1:48.093 FP3
21 9 D.PETRUCCI ITA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:48.351 FP2
22 96 J.DIXON GBR Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1:51.188 FP3

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