Espargaro edges out Martin by 0.028s in FP3

Espargaro edges out Martin by 0.028s in FP3

Cooler conditions on Saturday morning meant lap time gains on the overall combined order were few and far between for the first half of the session.

Espargaro would be the first major improver on the combined standings as the session neared its end and would remain fastest of all heading into qualifying with a 1m58.254s come the checkered flag.

Only Tech 3 KTM rookie Raul Fernandez after 15 minutes of running had found time on his Friday best, albeit remaining in 23rd as Johann Zarco on the Pramac Ducati led the individual timesheet with a 1m59.476s.

It wouldn’t be until the final 16 minutes of the session when some serious attacks on Fabio Quartararo’s best effort from Friday were made.

Aprilia’s Espargaro topped Quartararo’s 1m58.946s with a 1m58.695s on his first time attack run on fresh soft Michelin rubber.

He was immediately bettered by teammate Maverick Vinales, who fired in a 1m58.599s, before Espargaro on his second effort came within touching distance of the all-time Silverstone lap record with a 1m58.254s to return to the top of the order.

Ducati’s Jack Miller split the Aprilia pair as the session entered into its final 11 minutes with a 1m58.332s, as Quartararo – who continued to practice the long lap penalty loop in FP3 – sat fourth.

With just 10 minutes to go, all inside the top 10 apart from ninth-placed Alex Rins had found time on their Friday best laps as they made their bids to go directly into the pole shootout session in qualifying later this afternoon.

Espargaro failed to make any further gains on his 1m58.254s lap as the clock counted down, though did catch the ire of Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia at Village corner in the closing stages after the latter felt he’d been disturbed on his flying lap.

But on the cooldown lap after the checkered flag, the pair embraced and put the matter to rest.

Pramac’s Martin threatened Espargaro’s time on his final flying lap at the end of the session, but came up just short with a 1m58.282s to safely see himself into Q2 later this afternoon.

Martin was forced to park up on his way back to pitlane after the checked flag as his Ducati cut out. It’s not yet clear if this was a mechanical issue or simply he ran out of fuel.

Miller completed the top three on his factory team Ducati ahead of Zarco, who crashed late on at Village corner when he lost the front-end of his GP22 under braking.

Vinales rounded out the top five on his Aprilia, with championship leader Quartararo sixth in the end ahead of Bagnaia and Suzuki’s Joan Mir.

Luca Marini bagged a direct Q2 place on his VR46 Ducati in ninth ahead of the second Suzuki of Alex Rins, with Marco Bezzecchi dropping into Q1 having missed the cut by just 0.182s.

He will be joined in Q1 in qualifying by Gresini’s Enea Bastianini, who could only manage 12th at the end of FP3 ahead of Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli.

All four KTM riders will have to go through the first qualifying segment as well later today, along with all of the Honda runners and the RNF duo of the retiring Andrea Dovizioso and rookie Darryn Binder.

Qualifying for the 2022 MotoGP British Grand Prix will get underway at 2:10pm local time.

Silverstone MotoGP – FP3 results:

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