Sepang MotoGP: Morbidelli edges Quartararo in FP3

Franco Morbidelli edged Petronas Yamaha MotoGP teammate Fabio Quartararo by two tenths in the third practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Sepang MotoGP: Morbidelli edges Quartararo in FP3

The Italian jumped into the top spot with nine of the 45 minutes to go, his initial benchmark a 1m59.074s.

He then improved to a 1m58.761s during a frantic final run, enough to hold off Quartararo by a couple of tenths.

It's the Frenchman, however, that will head into qualifying as the outright pace-setter, thanks to his record-breaking 1m58.576s on Friday afternoon.

Honda's Marc Marquez was best of the rest with a 1m59.066s, the world champion steadily improving throughout his final run.

Having set the pace up until the final 10 minutes, works Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales settled into fourth place with a 1m59.074s.

Jack Miller was best of the Ducatis in fifth, the Australian spending much of the session on the Q1/Q2 bubble before securing his direct passage with a 1m59.227s.

Pramac teammate Francesco Bagnaia grabbed a Q2 slot of his own with a 1m59.253s during the final runs, which left him sixth, just clear of Suzuki's Alex Rins.

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Johann Zarco was the big surprise of the session, a 1m59.486s leaving him eighth on the timesheets and sending him straight into Q2.

That came after a low-speed fall early in the session, Zarco running wide at Turn 1 before losing the rear on the hard shoulder outside the corner. 

The Frenchman's late improvement was bad news for LCR Honda teammate Cal Crutchlow, who, after a rollercoaster of a session that saw in in Q2 one minute and out the next, was bumped out by Zarco's lap.

It was a similar story for Joan Mir, the Suzuki rider temporarily occupying a Q2 spot after knocking Crutchlow out early, before falling short as Bagnaia and Zarco improved at the end.

Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso both finished outside the Top 10 for the session, the former 12th and the latter 14th, but clung on to Q2 spots thanks to their Friday times.

Among those needing to go the long way in qualifying later on Saturday are Danilo Petrucci (13th), Pol Espargaro (16th) and Jorge Lorenzo, whose miserable weekend continued with the 17th fastest time in that session.

Session results:

Cla # Rider Bike Time Gap
1 21 Italy Franco Morbidelli
Yamaha 01'58.761
2 20 France Fabio Quartararo
Yamaha 01'58.977 00.216
3 93 Spain Marc Marquez
Honda 01'59.066 00.305
4 12 Spain Maverick Viñales
Yamaha 01'59.074 00.313
5 43 Australia Jack Miller
Ducati 01'59.227 00.466
6 63 Italy Francesco Bagnaia
Ducati 01'59.253 00.492
7 42 Spain Alex Rins
Suzuki 01'59.401 00.640
8 5 France Johann Zarco
Honda 01'59.486 00.725
9 36 Spain Joan Mir
Suzuki 01'59.501 00.740
10 35 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow
Honda 01'59.535 00.774
11 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro
Aprilia 01'59.564 00.803
12 46 Italy Valentino Rossi
Yamaha 01'59.643 00.882
13 9 Italy Danilo Petrucci
Ducati 01'59.754 00.993
14 4 Italy Andrea Dovizioso
Ducati 02'00.244 01.483
15 17 Czech Republic Karel Abraham
Ducati 02'00.290 01.529
16 44 Spain Pol Espargaro
KTM 02'00.353 01.592
17 99 Spain Jorge Lorenzo
Honda 02'00.406 01.645
18 29 Italy Andrea Iannone
Aprilia 02'00.645 01.884
19 82 Finland Mika Kallio
KTM 02'00.988 02.227
20 55 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin
KTM 02'01.980 03.219
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