Marc Marquez remained the man to beat in Saturday morning practice for the MotoGP title showdown at Valencia.
The championship leader registered the fastest ever lap at Valencia with a 1m30.803s towards the end of the session – 0.113 seconds quicker than title rival Jorge Lorenzo.
Marquez remained under the radar for most of the session while putting in a few long runs in an attempt to acclimatise to the softer rear tyres in the relatively cool conditions.
He produced his stunning lap with less than three minutes of the session remaining, demoting Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who had topped the timesheets for the majority of the morning, in the process.
Title contender Lorenzo made steady improvements and looked poised to match Marquez’s time, but was unable to maintain the pace through all four sectors of the lap.
Lorenzo’s Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi emerged third quickest, ahead of Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow. The latter was suffering from a temperamental brake lever issue mid-session.
Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl took turns in sixth place and the momentum finally swung in the Spaniard’s favour, while the Ducatis of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso ended up eighth and ninth respectively.
The top 10 was rounded out by Tech 3’s Bradley Smith, while Aleix Espargaro took fastest CRT honours in 11th.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap Laps 1. Marc Marquez Honda 1m30.803s 22 2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m30.916s +0.113s 20 3. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m31.033s +0.230s 23 4. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m31.309s +0.506s 20 5. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m31.817s +1.014s 20 6. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m31.854s +1.051s 21 7. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m31.891s +1.088s 21 8. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m32.008s +1.205s 22 9. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m32.186s +1.383s 18 10. Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 1m32.326s +1.523s 20 11. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m32.638s +1.835s 18 12. Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati 1m32.755s +1.952s 20 13. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m32.877s +2.074s 22 14. Hector Barbera Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m33.030s +2.227s 20 15. Michele Pirro Pramac Ducati 1m33.102s +2.299s 19 16. Claudio Corti Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m33.438s +2.635s 18 17. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m33.457s +2.654s 20 18. Colin Edwards Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m33.517s +2.714s 22 19. Yonny Hernandez Pramac Ducati 1m33.630s +2.827s 18 20. Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m33.673s +2.870s 17 21. Luca Scassa Cardion Aprilia 1m34.532s +3.729s 18 22. Michael Laverty PBM-Aprilia 1m34.737s +3.934s 20 23. Lukas Pesek Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m35.259s +4.456s 18 24. Bryan Staring Gresini FTR-Honda 1m35.455s +4.652s 21 25. Martin Bauer Remus-Suter-BMW 1m36.176s +5.373s 21 26. Damian Cudlin PBM-Aprilia 1m36.183s +5.380s 20