Australian MotoGP: Honda's Marquez fastest in FP3, Lorenzo last

Marc Marquez topped a frenetic third practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, which sentenced a host of big MotoGP names to the first phase of qualifying in mixed conditions

Australian MotoGP: Honda's Marquez fastest in FP3, Lorenzo last

The newly-crowned champion set his time of 1m33.155s in the final window of improvement early in the second half of the session, which was brought forward by an hour and extended by 15 minutes after Friday's washout at Phillip Island.

Marquez finished 0.054 seconds ahead of local hope Jack Miller, while the likes of Maverick Vinales, Valentino Rossi, Cal Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo - who finished last - will have to contest Q1.

Improved conditions on Saturday morning and the constant threat of more rain resulted in a mini-shootout at the start of the hour, on a largely-dry track surface.

Times quickly eclipsed the Friday benchmark set by Crutchlow in the wet, even before Marquez set a 1m33.661s on intermediate tyres seven minutes in.

That effort was 4.557s clear of the pack, and he improved again the next time around to 1m33.304s, as some of his rivals started to make inroads.

Other riders had headed to pitlane as light rain started to fall again, the likes of Yamaha's Rossi and Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso opting to match Marquez's intermediate strategy, but with Miller the first to gamble on slicks.

Honda injury fill-in Nicky Hayden slotted into second place, but was displaced by Miller who found a groove on slicks to close to within 0.729s of Marquez.

A flurry of times followed, but with riders on a medley of slicks, intermediates and even full wets, as drizzle came and went.

At the halfway stage, Marquez led Miller, Hayden, Dovizioso and Alvaro Bautista, who crashed at the first corner moments after Aprilia team-mate Stefan Bradl fell at Turn 4, amid what was then the most-meaningful of the rain.

Meanwhile, Rossi was 11th, Yamaha team-mate Lorenzo 14th and Suzuki pair Aleix Espargaro and Vinales 19th and 20th, Vinales having fallen entering pitlane 15 minutes in.

Conditions remained clear enough for another batch of improvements early in the second half.

Still on slicks, Marc VDS Honda's Miller moved to the top with a 1m33.280s with 22 minutes remaining, then lowered the benchmark to 1m33.209s.

Marquez got back ahead with a 1m33.155s, on an intermediate front and slick rear, which was ultimately good enough to finish on top.

Before rain returned with 19 minutes to go, Aleix Espargaro and brother Pol Espargaro vaulted up the order to finish third and fourth, ahead of Dovizioso.

Pramac Ducati's Scott Redding jumped up from last to sixth just before the heavens opened again, with Bradl, Hayden, Danilo Petrucci and Dovizioso's temporary factory Ducati team-mate Hector Barbera completing the top 10.

Outside that, and set to contest the first phase of qualifying, Vinales improved to run as high as fourth, before falling back to 11th, one spot ahead of Rossi.

LCR Honda's Crutchlow tried slicks tyres in the first half of the session but ultimately wound up 15th, while Lorenzo was 21st and last, 5.163s slower than Marquez, having headed out on slicks moments the final heavy shower.

PRACTICE THREE RESULTS:

Pos Rider Team Time Gap Laps
1 Marc Marquez Honda 1m33.155s - 9
2 Jack Miller Marc VDS Honda 1m33.209s 0.054s 15
3 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1m34.399s 1.244s 12
4 Pol Espargaro Tech3 Yamaha 1m34.650s 1.495s 11
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m34.721s 1.566s 12
6 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati 1m34.852s 1.697s 11
7 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 1m34.914s 1.759s 12
8 Nicky Hayden Honda 1m35.189s 2.034s 14
9 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati 1m35.269s 2.114s 11
10 Hector Barbera Ducati 1m35.300s 2.145s 12
11 Maverick Vinales Suzuki 1m35.364s 2.209s 13
12 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m35.463s 2.308s 15
13 Eugene Laverty Aspar Ducati 1m35.736s 2.581s 14
14 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1m36.029s 2.874s 11
15 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1m36.189s 3.034s 12
16 Bradley Smith Tech3 Yamaha 1m36.351s 3.196s 9
17 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati 1m36.447s 3.292s 11
18 Mike Jones Avintia Ducati 1m36.756s 3.601s 15
19 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati 1m37.193s 4.038s 17
20 Tito Rabat Marc VDS Honda 1m38.012s 4.857s 9
21 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m38.318s 5.163s 22


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MotoGP Saturday FP3 session extended after Friday washout

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Australian MotoGP: Marquez on pole from Crutchlow, Yamahas struggle

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