Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira headed a wet but frantic FP3 at Portimao as the home hero delighted MotoGP fans braving the awful conditions.
The Portuguese rider’s 1’50.552, set on his ninth lap of the 45-minute session was enough to hold off Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir and Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo after the Monster Energy rider found almost two seconds from his dismal Friday offering. Big hitters Pecco Bagnaia, Jorge Martin and Maverick Viñales heading for Q1.
MotoGP free practice ignited with a major highside for Marc Marquez at turn eight, his brother succumbing on his 26th birthday at turn four moments later having just improved on his Friday time, in 12th.
Miguel Oliveira likewise improved on his Friday performance as he sat third overall with a 1’50.796, Quartararo joining him for fourth before the home hero hit the top, 1’50.583 now the target to beat.
Ducati Lenovo’s Bagnaia sat outside the promotion zone after 15 minutes of action. Aprilia’s Viñales holding the gateway time - a 1’51.309 with the second factory Ducati of Jack Miller narrowly ahead in ninth.
Quartararo showcased a dominant step taken from Friday’s dismal 20th place as he ran second, 0.02s behind the Portuguese rider in charge. Suzuki’s Joan Mir joining the fight as he demoted the reigning champion by a marginal 0.005s.
The second KTM of Brad Binder sat fourth in the session, sixth overall as the midsession played out. Franky Morbidelli inside the top eight on the second Yamaha M1 but adrift of promotion in the combined standings as the rain returned with 25 minutes left on the clock.
Binder improved to fourth overall with his 12th lap of the morning as Aleix Espargaro knocked his Aprilia teammate out of contention on his way to ninth. The South African crashing out of his next red sector personal best as the final 20 minutes began.
The rain intensified as the action faded. Jack Miller in the danger zone of promotion but with limited running out on track.
Remy Gardner was the next to sit trackside, at turn seven, on his Tech3 KTM. Darryn Binder crashing out at turn three moments later on the WithU RNF Yamaha.
Six to go and Miller headed out in a bid to consolidate his Q2 position. The majority of the pack doing likewise in the final minutes as Marco Bezzecchi’s Mooney VR46 Ducati flipped him out of turn one with a massive highside.
The clock counted down with Marquez heading out for a check on his rebuilt RC213V in the final minute. No further challenges registering as Viñales, Martin, Bagnaia and Morbidelli faced the Q1 fight.