MotoGP Le Mans: Vinales tops first session for nine months in FP3

Maverick Vinales led a MotoGP session for the first time in nine months by topping third practice at Le Mans, while Marc Marquez recovered from a crash to finish second

MotoGP Le Mans: Vinales tops first session for nine months in FP3

It was not until around halfway through the 45-minute Saturday morning session that the first change from Friday's provisional top 10 order was made, as Cal Crutchlow surged to the head of the FP3 times.

With just over 10 minutes left on the clock, home hero Johann Zarco grabbed top spot with a time just 0.004 seconds faster, which remained the fastest effort until the final five minutes.

Marquez suffered a low-side crash at the Dunlop chicane at the start of his final run, damaging his new aerodynamic fairing in the process - his works Honda shedding its left-hand side winglet.

But that did not stop the reigning champion from moving to the top with three minutes remaining with a lap of 1m32.011s, moments after Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo had beaten Zarco's time.

Zarco then became the first rider to beat Andrea Dovizioso's record-breaking Friday benchmark with a 1m31.866s with a minute to go, but that was quickly surpassed by the works Yamaha of Valentino Rossi, who moved ahead on a 1m31.810s.

As the chequered flag fell, Marquez set a new benchmark of 1m31.774s, only to be beaten by Vinales - who had been one thousandth short of team-mate Rossi's time on his penultimate lap - who found a further two tenths to end up on a 1m31.619s and establish a new record.

It marks the first time Vinales has led a session during a race weekend since he qualified on pole at Aragon last September.

Marquez was demoted to second ahead of Rossi, with Zarco dropping down to fourth, 0.247s adrift, when he was unable to improve on his final lap.

Dovizioso stayed fifth in the combined times by dint of his Friday lap, ahead of factory Ducati team-mate Lorenzo, Jack Miller (Pramac Ducati), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) and Tito Rabat (Avintia Ducati).

Grabbing the final automatic Q2 spot was lead Suzuki man Andrea Iannone, who shaded Crutchlow by 0.083s for 10th in the combined times.

Joining Crutchlow in Q1 will be the second Pramac bike of Danilo Petrucci, Suzuki's Alex Rins and Honda's Dani Pedrosa, who was one of four riders who could not improve on Saturday morning.

Pol Espargaro was another one of the quartet after crashing early in the session, but still ended up as KTM's best finisher in 14th overall, two places ahead of Pedrosa - who also crashed at Turn 12.

FP3 times

Pos Rider Team Bike Time Gap Laps
1 Maverick Vinales Yamaha Yamaha 1m31.619s - 24
2 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 1m31.774s 0.155s 22
3 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 1m31.810s 0.191s 22
4 Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 1m31.866s 0.247s 19
5 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati Ducati 1m31.981s 0.362s 20
6 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati Ducati 1m32.064s 0.445s 24
7 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Aprilia 1m32.135s 0.516s 20
8 Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m32.160s 0.541s 24
9 Andrea Iannone Suzuki Suzuki 1m32.179s 0.560s 22
10 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 1m32.262s 0.643s 18
11 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati Ducati 1m32.289s 0.670s 20
12 Alex Rins Suzuki Suzuki 1m32.295s 0.676s 22
13 Alvaro Bautista Aspar Ducati Ducati 1m32.450s 0.831s 21
14 Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 1m32.525s 0.906s 20
15 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 1m32.568s 0.949s 20
16 Bradley Smith KTM KTM 1m32.953s 1.334s 19
17 Franco Morbidelli MVDS Honda Honda 1m32.992s 1.373s 20
18 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 1m33.049s 1.430s 19
19 Pol Espargaro KTM KTM 1m33.075s 1.456s 14
20 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 1m33.096s 1.477s 21
21 Scott Redding Aprilia Aprilia 1m33.107s 1.488s 21
22 Karel Abraham Aspar Ducati Ducati 1m33.336s 1.717s 18
23 Thomas Luthi MVDS Honda Honda 1m33.603s 1.984s 18
24 Xavier Simeon Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m34.002s 2.383s 17


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Author Jamie Klein
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