Portuguese MotoGP: Oliveira climbs top as Marquez crashes
Portuguese MotoGP: The heavy rain of Saturday morning had given way to sunnier conditions for the start of the Algarve International Circuit near Portimao’s final 45-minute practice session of the weekend.
As a result, riders were able to improve their lap times in the combined standings, which is vital in determining who advances to the Q2 qualifying pole shootout session.
With a 1m51.334s, Ducati’s Jack Miller was the first substantial improver in eighth place on the combined order, before Oliveira jumped up to third with a 1m50.796s a few moments later.
With a time of 1m50.583s, the 2020 Portugal winner eventually deposed Marquez from the pole position, which he had held since FP1.
Portuguese MotoGP: Oliveira’s excellence under tough conditions
With little under 30 minutes left in the session, Oliveira improved to a 1m50.552s, though the onset of heavier rain approximately five minutes later would prevent anyone from attempting this.
Despite the fact that the conditions were the nicest they’d been all weekend at the start of FP3, they proved to be quite difficult, as both Marquez brothers discovered.
Portuguese MotoGP: The crash that cost Marc Marquez the table-top
Marc Marquez, the six-time world champion, was flung over the handlebars of his Honda factory team 10 minutes into the session at the Turn 8 right-hander.
Marquez crashed on his head, breaking his helmet’s visor, but he was able to remount his bike and return to pitlane after only five circuits.
Alex Marquez, his younger brother, crashed his LCR Honda seconds after he did, but walked away unharmed.
Marc Marquez would benefit from the return of the rain midway through FP3, as it would maintain him fifth on the combined order thanks to his FP1 best of 1m50.666s.
Several riders, including KTM’s Brad Binder in fourth and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, who improved from outside the top 15 to ninth with a time of 1m51.248s, benefited from the rain.
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Portuguese MotoGP: Other mavericks behind Oliveira
However, Maverick Vinales on the sister Aprilia, Pramac’s Jorge Martin, 2021 Algarve GP winner Francesco Bagnaia on the factory Ducati, world championship leader Bastianini and his closest title opponent Alex Rins on the Suzuki were all shut out of the top 10 – and consequently the direct Q2 spots.
Fabio Quartararo, the reigning world champion, believed he might make a breakthrough in wet-weather riding on his Yamaha on Friday, and finished third in FP3 ahead of Binder and Marc Marquez, who returned to the track in the closing moments following his earlier crash.
Pol Espargaro, a Honda teammate, finished sixth overall after setting the fastest time in practice two on Friday, while Bezzecchi, a VR46 rider, finished seventh and gave his visiting boss Valentino Rossi something to smile about. Bezzecchi’s stint, on the other hand, came to an end with around five minutes to go when he crashed badly at Turn 2. Johann Zarco, Aleix Espargaro, and Miller of Pramac took the remaining direct Q2 positions.