Johann Zarco once again put a strong performance as he topped FP4, with Enea Bastianini going into a surprising second position, in a Ducati-powered 1-2 in the final practice session.
FP3 saw 20 bikes on the grid, following the decision from Yamaha to suspend outgoing driver Maverick Vinales following his actions at the Styrian GP as the riders competed for a spot in Q2 for qualifying.
With 35 minutes to go in FP3, Bastianini had a minor incident, in turn 1, temporarily bringing out the yellow flags in sector 1 and slowing down riders attempting to qualify for Q2.
Zarco was the fastest in terms of the combined sessions for the most part, but there were challenges from championship leader Fabio Quartararo and current champion Joan Mir throughout the session.
In a cruel twist of events, last week’s polesitter and winner Jorge Martin failed to get into Q2 after falling off at Turn 10, crushing his chances of a good start to the race on Sunday.
On the other hand, Zarco extended his dominance at the Red Bull Ring by topping the combined standings with Ducati factory rider Bagnaia topping FP3.
The top 10 classification after FP3 is as follows:
|1||Francesco Bagnaia||Ducati Lenovo Team||1:22.827|
|2||Fabio Quartararo||Monster Energy Yamaha||+0.094|
|3||Johann Zarco||Pramac Racing||+0.138|
|4||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||+0.258|
|5||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+0.264|
|6||Jack Miller||Ducati Lenovo Team||+0.371|
|7||Joan Mir||Suzuki Ecstar||+0.446|
|8||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda Idemitsu||+0.488|
|9||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+0.579|
|10||Pol Espargaro||Repsol Honda||+0.607|
FP4 saw a change in conditions as track temperatures started to drop and the clouds began to gather before the weekend’s final practice session at the Red Bull Ring.
With the cut-off for Q2 being determined in FP3, FP4 served as the search for the ideal set-up, with drivers pushing the limits and feeling the track to prepare for the race with Marc Marquez suffering from a fall early in the session at turn 3 and Zarco runs wide at turn 4.
Another rider who crashed at turn 3 was Iker Lecuona, who slid off his bike, while exiting turn 3, bringing out the yellow flags at sectors 1 and 2 momentarily. Shortly afterward, last week’s race winner Martin had an incident, losing out on valuable track time.
In the closing laps of the session, Marquez once again went off his bike, this time at turn 9, in a string of incidents caused amidst trouble in the Spaniard’s shoulder.
The top 10 classification after FP4 is as follows:
|1||Johann Zarco||Pramac Racing||1:24:037|
|2||Enea Bastianini||Avintia Esponsorama||+0.120|
|3||Joan Mir||Suzuki Ecstar||+0.128|
|4||Alex Rins||Suzuki Ecstar||+0.165|
|5||Fabio Quartararo||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||+0.181|
|6||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+0.265|
|7||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda||+0.285|
|8||Pol Espargaro||Repsol Honda||+0.318|
|9||Takaaki Nakagami||Pramac Racing||+0.331|
|10||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+0.380|