Marquez on top heading into Qualifying as Dovizioso struggles

by Robert Jones

Marc Marquez delivered a superb lap in the closing stage of Free Practice 3, while Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi missed out on the top ten.

The championship leader led the way courtesy of his fastest time set in Free Practice 2, but with an automatic place in Qualifying 2 up for grabs and track conditions at their best, the times were inevitably going to improve. 

The session started in bizarre fashion for both Petronas Yamaha riders, and Maverick Vinales who all ran wide and into the gravel at turn one. 

Fabio Quatararo was the first to go off twice, before Assen winner Maverick Vinales, suffered the same fate with Franco Morbidelli next to join the party. 

All three riders avoided going down fortunately, but a strange issue nonetheless that Yamaha will hope doesn’t happen in qualifying.

After finally regrouping, it was Quatararo and Vinales who set the bench mark times, going faster than yesterday’s top time of 1:20.705s.

Marquez then responded on his penultimate lap with a 1:20.347s, which is only one tenth away from last year’s Pole Position time. 

Quatararo could not improve on his second qualifying run, and ultimately finished the session in second place +0.168s down, with Vinales third +0.287s back. 

Fourth was Cal Crutchlow who produced his best lap of the weekend on his twentieth lap of the session ahead of Alex Rins.

Credit: MotoGP.com

Rins has been inside the top five in all three sessions so far in Germany, but with qualifying not always a strong point for the team, it will be important for Rins to qualify well given his race pace. 

Sixth was Morbidelli, closely followed by Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller. It was another strong session for Petrucci, but not for teammate Dovizioso who failed to make the top ten and will instead go through Qualifying 1. 

Ninth was Joan Mir on the second Ecstar Suzuki bike, with Pol Espagaro rounding out the top ten. Mir had his strongest showing of the year at Assen, and looks on course for another strong result this weekend. 

Along with Dovizioso, the other big name rider outside the all important top ten was Rossi, who was once again the fourth best Yamaha.

It was a much better day for the Italian on Friday, but Rossi could not build on the pace shown and could be in for another tough Saturday. 

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