Marc Marquez bounced back from his second crash of the weekend to top the timesheets in FP3 at Phillip Island on Saturday morning. The reigning champion was one of only ten riders to improve their overall lap time following an early morning rain shower and as a result, the top ten automatic qualifiers to Q2 remained unchanged.
Rain had fallen in the Moto3 session on Saturday morning and although the circuit dried out for the premier class, the riders found improvements hard to come by in cold conditions. Instead, crashes were more frequent than fast laps with Jordi Torres tumbling at the Hayshed, while Bradley Smith suffered a low-speed spill at the MG hairpin.
The biggest accident of all came from Tech 3’s Hafizh Syahrin who suffered a dramatic fall at Doohan’s corner in scenes reminiscent of Cal Crutchlow’s race-ending crash on Friday. The Malaysian was stretchered away, a major concern with his home Grand Prix just one week away, while it remains to be seen whether he will take any further part today having secured a place in Q2.
Marquez was the next to go down, dropping his Honda at turn four while cruising on an out lap. After a brief visit back to the pits, the world champion re-joined the circuit to set the fastest lap of the morning. His 1:29.714 saw him outpace Maverick Vinales and Jack Miller but with conditions not as favourable, he remained sixth in the combined classification.
Elsewhere, Valentino Rossi improved overall to consolidate a Q2 place, breaking into the 1:29s in the final six minutes, while Pol Espargaro and Dani Pedrosa came within a tenth of a second of bumping Syahrin out of the top ten. The two Spaniards wound up eleventh and twelfth and will lead the field in Q1 this afternoon.
2018 Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (Combined Times)
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