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Lewis Duncan

Valencia GP: Miller leads FP3, Bezzecchi's bike catches fire

The session was red-flagged just over a minute in when VR46 Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi crashed at Turn 7 on an out-lap and his bike burst into flames.

The scene was quickly cleared and the session resumed a few minutes later at 10am local time, with Miller leading the way at the chequered flag by 0.105 seconds from Pramac’s Johann Zarco.

Cooler conditions on Saturday morning meant lap time improvements on the combined order were few and far between, with Tech 3 KTM’s Remy Gardner the only one to find time down in 21st after the opening 15 minutes of running.

It wouldn’t be until Miller shot to the top of the order to depose Luca Marini’s Friday best with just under 15 minutes remaining that the session sprung into life.

That lap would keep Miller fastest of all until the final two minutes, when Zarco posted a 1m30.026s on his Pramac Ducati to go top.

However, Miller produced the best time of the weekend so far with a 1m29.921s on his final tour to head into this afternoon’s qualifying as the rider to beat.

KTM’s Brad Binder was one of seven riders on Saturday morning to suffer a fall in the tricky conditions, the South African sliding off his bike at the Turn 4 right-hander 15 minutes in.

But Binder rallied in the closing stages to sail through to Q2 with a 1m30.188s, with Marini remaining fourth on the combined order despite ending FP3 14th on the individual timesheet.

Fabio Quartararo was the leading championship contender in fifth on his factory Yamaha, while points leader Bagnaia was briefly pushed out of the top 10 in the closing stages as he vied for his place in Q2.

Bagnaia managed a 1m30.324s late on to move up to ninth, avoiding a repeat trip through Q1 having fallen into the first part of qualifying last time out in Malaysia.

Marc Marquez, despite suffering from an illness, completed the top six on the combined order at the end of FP3 to safely make it into Q2 on his Honda ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.

Pramac’s Jorge Martin in eighth and Suzuki’s Joan Mir in 10th have also secured a place in Q2.

Alex Rins was denied a place late on by just 0.050s, with Enea Bastainini following him into Q2 after the Gresini rider crashed early on.

Crashes for Maverick Vinales (Aprilia), LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami, Tech3’s Raul Fernandez, RNF’s Darryn Binder and a second fall for Bezzecchi stopped all of them from progressing directly into Q2.

Valencia GP - FP3 results:

Cla Rider Bike Time Gap
1 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 1'29.921  
2 France Johann Zarco Ducati 1'30.026 0.105
3 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 1'30.188 0.267
4 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 1'30.554 0.633
5 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'30.231 0.310
6 Spain Marc Marquez Honda 1'30.279 0.358
7 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'30.300 0.379
8 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 1'30.495 0.574
9 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'30.324 0.403
10 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 1'30.383 0.462
11 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 1'30.388 0.467
12 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'30.415 0.494
13 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'30.446 0.525
14 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'30.431 0.510
15 Spain Maverick Viñales Aprilia 1'30.581 0.660
16 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 1'30.868 0.947
17 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 1'30.957 1.036
18 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 1'31.687 1.766
19 Australia Remy Gardner KTM 1'31.056 1.135
20 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'31.093 1.172
21 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 1'31.097 1.176
22 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 1'31.121 1.200
23 Spain Raúl Fernández KTM 1'32.468 2.547
24 South Africa Darryn Binder Yamaha 1'31.753 1.832
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