MotoGP Malaysia: Rossi leaves it late to snatch FP3 honours

Valentino Rossi was the only rider to crack the two-minute barrier on a rapidly-drying Sepang circuit in third practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix

MotoGP Malaysia: Rossi leaves it late to snatch FP3 honours

The Yamaha rider lapped the 3.445-mile circuit in 1m59.947s as he aims for his first pole since last year's Japanese GP.

Initial lap times were just three seconds slower than the dry FP1 times, and Jack Miller was the first to improve, climbing to 11th on his Marc VDS Honda with a time 0.6s faster than his best from Friday.

Cal Crutchlow then moved his LCR Honda up to fourth overall with a 2m00.853s, while Rossi slotted his Yamaha 10th overall despite using the hard rear tyre.

However, soon after Miller went to the top of the times with a 2m00.406s, Rossi took his soft tired Yamaha into P4, then grabbed top spot with a 2m00.246s.

His former team-mate Jorge Lorenzo put his Ducati on top with a 2m00.163s, before Dani Pedrosa sneaked ahead on his works Honda by a mere 0.025s.

Johann Zarco grabbed top spot on the Tech 3 Yamaha, but Rossi found one final improvement to topple Zarco by 0.077s, with Pedrosa only 0.063s further adrift.

Championship contender Ducati's Andrea Dovisioso was fourth, just ahead of team-mate Lorenzo, with Miller clinging on to sixth, a mere nine-thousandths of a second ahead of Crutchlow.

Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins were eigth and 12th respectively on the Suzukis, while Marc Marquez, championship leader by 33 points, was a strangely subdued ninth, 0.52s off Rossi's pace.

That still put him ahead of Maverick Vinales' Yamaha, which was 0.75 slower than its sister bike, and made the top 10 by just 0.047s.

Lower-class Sepang winner Alvaro Bautista dropped his Aspar Ducati at Turn 1 with half an hour to go and then fell off his spare bike at Turn 10 with 22 minutes remaining.

He finished last in the session but remained P11 in practice times overall.

Michael Van der Mark, subbing for Jonas Folger on the second Tech 3 Yamaha this weekend, was 21st, 2.037s off the pace.

FP3 times

Pos Rider Team Gap Laps
1 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m59.947s 18
2 Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha 0.077s 16
3 Dani Pedrosa Honda 0.140s 19
4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 0.177s 16
5 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati 0.202s 18
6 Jack Miller MVDS Honda 0.243s 18
7 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 0.252s 16
8 Andrea Iannone Suzuki 0.447s 19
9 Marc Marquez Honda 0.520s 18
10 Maverick Vinales Yamaha 0.748s 19
11 Alex Rins Suzuki 0.799s 18
12 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati 0.917s 17
13 Karel Abraham Aspar Ducati 0.929s 17
14 Bradley Smith KTM 1.066s 17
15 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati 1.345s 17
16 Pol Espargaro KTM 1.348s 17
17 Tito Rabat MVDS Honda 1.435s 17
18 Sam Lowes Aprilia 1.559s 15
19 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati 1.805s 14
20 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati 1.900s 15
21 Michael van der Mark Tech3 Yamaha 2.037s 19
22 Alvaro Bautista Aspar Ducati 2.257s 6

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