MotoGP Valencia: Miller sets the pace in FP3

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Ducati Lenovo’s Jack Miller secured the MotoGP spoils in FP3 with a 1’29.921 around Valencia on Saturday morning.

A late-session shootout saw Prima Pramac’s Johann Zarco claim second from Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder with Mooney VR46’s Luca Marini fourth thanks to his Friday effort.

A dramatic start to the morning practice saw a heavy high speed crash for Marco Bezzecchi at turn seven. The Mooney VR46 Ducati barrel rolling through the gravel before busting into flames as the red flag came out in the opening two minutes.

Binder took charge as the session restarted. Brother Darryn and fellow rookie Raul Fernandez suffering early crashes before the KTM had his own near miss with title-challenger Pecco Bagnaia.

Zarco pushed the pace as FP3 continued to bed in trailed by Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and the second KTM of Miguel Oliveira. Bezzecchi back on track but causing further drama as he faced the wrath of Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo for impeding the Frenchman’s hot lap efforts.

Enea Bastianini was the next to succumb to turn ten as the Gresini slid out having yet to classify a time after 15 minutes of action. Binder and Takaaki Nakagami adding to the crash damage at turn four due to the continuing cold track temperatures.

Aprilia’s Maverick Viñales suffered his own turn four off at the halfway stage as times continued to sit adrift of Friday’s best. Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir the first to improve as he set a 1’30.705 lap to head the session as the second half counted down.

Jack Miller hit the top overall on the Ducati Lenovo GP22 with a 1’30.095 as the final quarter of an hour began. Oliveira and Viñales circulated second and third in the session but almost half a second away from the Australian with Quartararo running fifth.

Bezzecchi endured his second crash of the morning with a turn six off as the final ten minutes got underway. The defending champion pushing hard for second - and third overall - as he neared to within a quarter of a second of the Ducati target. Mir continuing to improve on his personal best but unable to break into the top ten positions.

Suzuki teammate Alex Rins proved more successful next time around as the Spaniard claimed fifth in the combined times thanks to a 1’30.388. Binder stealing the position in quick succession as Bagnaia dropped out of contention, to 11th.

Mir added to the Italian’s pain as he joined his teammate in the top six shortly after. A trio of Ducati’s gunning for glory as Zarco, then Miller took charge and Bagnaia improved to seventh. The Australian the sole rider under the 1’30 barrier as practice drew to a close.

Binder’s KTM charge continued as he advanced to third in the final minute. Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro up to sixth from Jorge Martin and Bagnaia with Suzuki’s duo completing the Q2 positions until Marquez arrived. The HRC man secured sixth in the dying seconds to drop Rins out of contention with Bagnaia safe in ninth as the chequered flag fell - before giving a push back to the pits to Zarco’s Pramac in the closing stages.

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