Fabio Quartararo shot to the head of the timesheets by the end of FP3 for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring to lead Ducati’s Jack Miller.
The Yamaha racer managed to save his best for the late-session time attacks, posting the fastest lap of the weekend so far-a 1:20.348s-with just under ten minutes remaining as the field tried to capture one of the ten automatic passages to the pole shootout in qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
Miller looked to be on to eclipse the Frenchman’s time at the top of the table with a pair of brand-new soft compound tyres on his Desmosedici, though the Aussie would ultimately have to roll out while nearly two-tenths up halfway round the lap and settle for second after making an error.
Johann Zarco completed the top three on his Pramac Ducati example, while Friday leader Miguel Oliveira was able to improve his time slightly to end up fourth ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.
Jorge Martin was the surprise as he fired in an impressive effort just 0.153s down on Quartararo’s benchmark to bag the sixth best time, while Takaaki Nakagami ended up as top Honda in seventh on his LCR-run RC213-V.
Francesco Bagnaia recovered from a tough Friday to make Q2 in eighth ahead of Marc Marquez, the FP1 leader struggling to get a time in late on as he continuously lost pace across the second half of the tour, though his best was still enough for ninth just clear of brother Alex Marquez on the second LCR machine-the top ten covered by a minuscule 0.334s.
Just missing out on an automatic Q2 berth was reigning MotoGP world champion Joan Mir, the Suzuki rider coming just 0.025s short of bumping Alex from the top ten.
He was followed by several other big names, with Franco Morbidelli ending up 12th for Petronas SRT Yamaha ahead of the second factory Yamaha of Maverick Vinales.
Vinales crashed at Turn 1 with just half-a-dozen minutes left on the clock, the Spaniard sprinting back to the pits to jump on his back-up M1-though he was unable to set a time good enough to make it into the top ten having ventured back out.
Alex Rins also missed out on the other Suzuki, with Valentino Rossi and Brad Binder on the other KTM also struggling in FP3 on their way to 16th and 18th overall respectively.
Pol Espagraro was a surprise casualty in FP3 after looking to have top six speed throughout Friday, the factory Honda pilot crashing out at Turn 8-his third incident in as many sessions so far this weekend-while on his final flyer, leaving him a lowly 19th as a result.