Rins, Suzuki heads up Catalunya FP3 as Lorenzo makes Q2

Alex Rins turns around his single lap fortunes to top FP3 as Marc Marquez struggles and Jorge Lorenzo cracks the top ten; Big crash for Franco Morbidelli
Rins, Suzuki heads up Catalunya FP3 as Lorenzo makes Q2

Alex Rins emerged top of the timesheets in a hotly-contested Catalunya MotoGP FP3 session as the factory contingent rose to the fore at the Circuit de Catalunya.

In a session that would conclude with 17 riders lapping within a second of the top time as they battled for the ten spots that book them directly into Q2, the leading order changed repeatedly in the final moments.

Nonetheless, no-one was able to better the benchmark Rins set with ten minutes of the session remaining, the Suzuki Ecstar rider – who has struggled relative to his title rivals in qualifying this year – going top with an impressive 1m 39.547secs lap.

It was just enough to deny single-lap specialist Fabio Quartararo, the Frenchman reeling off a series of rapid efforts, with his best just coming in over Rins at 1m 39.583s. However, it was an unexpectedly inauspicious end to the session for the rookie after low-siding at turn two, remarkably the first crash of his MotoGP career.

Making big gains in the dying seconds, Cal Crutchlow earned himself a place in Q2 as the top Honda in third position, ahead of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales, the factory Yamaha pair making good use of the M1’s surefootedness on a single lap to crack the top five.

Having to complete a number of quick laps to bounce back into the top ten such was the frequency of improvements, Andrea Dovizioso eventually settled in sixth position, with his team-mate Danilo Petrucci making Q2 in eighth, the pair split by the KTM of Pol Espargaro.

A session of mixed emotions for Repsol Honda with Marc Marquez struggling to hook up a clean lap en route to ninth quickest, his qualms were tempered by joy for team-mate Jorge Lorenzo who, for the first time this season, made it into Q2 only two hundredths shy of his championship leading counterpart.

With eight of the top ten emerging from factory teams, Q1 will be largely contested by satellite riders – including FP2 standouts Jack Miller, Takaaki Nakagami and Francesco Bagnaia. There had been doubt over whether Franco Morbidelli, who suffered an aggressive high-side at the quick Turn 13 right-hander which required him to be stretchered off the circuit and taken to the medical centre, would be fit enough. However, doctors have confirmed he will be back on the Yamaha for Q1.