Australian Jack Miller set the fastest time on Saturday after the third free practice session of the MotoGP San Marino Grand Prix, before qualifying scheduled for early afternoon in very uncertain weather.
Miller was ahead of his Ducati teammate, the Italian Francesco Bagnaia, who will however only be able to start fourth on the starting grid at best during the race on Sunday (2:00 p.m.) due to a three-place penalty received on Friday. Miller’s future replacement in the official Italian team in 2023, the Italian Enea Bastianini (Ducati-Gresini), is third.
Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), leader of the world championship, remains well placed with the fourth fastest time after the first three practice sessions, contested under very gray skies and with a few first drops of rain on Saturday morning.
The Spaniard Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), 32 points behind Quartararo in the championship seven rounds from the end of the season, also qualified directly for the second qualifying session by finishing in the Top 10 in free practice (8th ).
Francesco Bagnaia, 3rd in the championship 44 pts from the French, is aiming for a fourth success in San Marino after his victories in the Netherlands, Great Britain and Austria.
Saturday morning’s session took place under the watchful eye of Marc Marquez, who arrived in the paddock on Friday evening. The six-time MotoGP world champion has not raced in Grand Prix since the end of May due to a new operation on his right arm. But he must take part in official tests on the same track on Tuesday, with the main objective of preparing for the 2023 season.
The drivers who set the ten best times in the first three free practice sessions held on Friday and Saturday take part directly in the second qualifying session (Q2), which determines the first twelve places on the starting grid.
The others must participate in a preliminary qualifying session (Q1) of which the two fastest are drafted for Q2.