Grand prix

Zarco soars in the wet as Quartararo and Bagnaia face Q1

It’s a Ducati 1-2-3 at the summit after another wet session at Misano, but the two title contenders finish outside the top 10

Wet weather greeted the riders again on Saturday morning and finishing fastest in a nail-biting Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna FP3 was Johann Zarco with a 1:40.384, as the Frenchman edged out Pramac Racing teammate Jorge Martin by 0.087s. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) made it a Ducati 1-2-3 at the top, but the two title contenders – Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – fail to make the Q2 cut.

Q1 awaits Quartararo and Bagnaia

For the riders sitting outside the top 10 ahead of the session, including Quartararo, their dry weather wishes didn’t come to fruition. However, conditions were good enough to allow for some improvements to be made early in FP3, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) moving up to P2 – just 0.026s off Miller’s Friday effort – after 15 minutes.

It was an enthralling opening 25 minutes, with all but five riders managing to go faster than they did on Friday. Quartararo was making progress, but the problem for El Diablo was so were his rivals. A slight lull in proceedings came halfway through FP3, and at that stage, the Frenchman was P13, one second down on fastest rider Bagnaia.

A huge final 10 minutes then reared its head. Quartararo, 16th, was staring a first Q1 appearance of the season down the barrel. The title leader leapt to P10 with five minutes to go, a second shy of Zarco, but Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) quickly demoted Quartararo back to P11. Bagnaia wasn’t safe either though, the Italian was now P9 with just over a minute to go.

On his penultimate lap, Quartararo improved – but it was only good enough for P11. That was soon P12 and suddenly, Bagnaia was now P11 and outside the Q2 places. Quartararo’s FP3 was over after a mistake on his final lap down into Turn 8, frustrations clear to see, but title rival Pecco couldn’t find enough time on his last lap to grab a top 10 either. A dramatic session for the top two in the overall standings sees both Quartararo and Pecco head into Q1.

The remaining Q2 qualifiers

Despite a crash, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) heads into Q2 in P4 as the fastest non-Ducati rider, with Marc Marquez claiming P5 after finishing Friday outside the top 10. The eight-time World Champion’s Repsol Honda teammate Pol Espargaro picked up P6 to safely make it into the pole position shootout, as does fastest Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – the Italian sat P22 at one stage in FP3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Petrucci and Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) are the final three riders to make it through.

The most important qualifying of 2021 is coming up

Only two riders can go through from Q1 to Q2, but will it be 11th fastest Pecco and 15th fastest Quartararo? Reigning World Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) is also facing Q1, in what is undoubtedly the most important qualifying session of the season. Q1 is coming your way at 14:10 local time (GMT+2), don’t miss any of the action.