Getty Images

Marquez hits the front in frantic end to FP3

Marquez hits the front in frantic end to FP3
By AutoSport

01/07/2017 at 11:57Updated 01/07/2017 at 12:06

Honda's Marc Marquez set the pace in Saturday morning's third MotoGP practice session at Sachsenring, leading Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales by nearly two tenths of a second.

Marquez's best lap of 1m20.745s was the fastest time of the weekend so far, and came in a frenetic final few minutes of FP3 as riders searched for a place in the top 10 to qualifying automatically for Saturday afternoon's Q2 qualifying session.

He impressively bettered Aleix Espargaro's previous benchmark by half a second and while Vinales was able to close the gap to 0.170 seconds before the chequered flag, Marquez stayed on top.

Jonas Folger took third, the Tech 3 Yamaha rider having led the majority of the session until being demoted by Vinales and then Espargaro during the final 10 minutes, before a late improvement of his own in the final minutes.

Aprilia's Espargaro was fourth, ahead of LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi.

Rossi endured a second failure of the weekend during the session after a stoppage a day earlier in FP1, as his Yamaha bike stopped again at the beginning of the third practice.

The Italian managed to rejoin soon after his issue and, while he spent most of the running outside of the top 10, jumped up to sixth with a late effort.

Ducati factory duo Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso were seventh and eighth respectively, while the second factory Honda of Dani Pedrosa and Alvaro Bautista were the final two riders to guarantee a spot in Q2.

Pedrosa was one of several riders to fall, dropping his bike at Turn 1. Karel Abraham and Johann Zarco were the latest riders to fall at the fast, downhill right-handed Turn 11 this weekend.

As a result, Zarco will have to contest the Q1 qualifying session to stand a chance of fighting for pole, and will be joined by the likes of Danilo Petrucci and FP2 pacesetter Hector Barbera.

Marc VDS rider Jack Miller, Pramac Ducati's Scott Redding and the Suzukis of Alex Rins (16th) and Andrea Iannone (19th) also failed to make the Q2 cut.