A complicated day saw the Repsol Honda Team unable to show their speed as falls and rear tyre issues held back Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro.
Weather gods were not on the side of the Repsol Honda Team as Saturday dawned, torrential rain soaking the 4.3km long circuit and sporadic showers making sure it stayed wet. No chance of a dry Free Practice 3 meant both Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez would have to contend with Q1.
As the track dried in FP3, Marquez switched over to slick tyres and showed that his incredible ability in the mixed conditions has not faded as the eight-time World Champion set a string of fastest laps. Closing the gap further to the 1’32.1 needed for a Q2 spot was simply impossible in the conditions on track but Marquez did stamp his authority down with a 1’34.067 to top the session. Q1 would be a complicated session for the #93 as he suffered a fall at Turn 13 with just under half the session remaining. Making a classic Marquez-dash back to the box, he remounted his second machine and returned to the track only to suffer a second fall, this time at Turn 12.
Pol Espargaro, like his teammate, pushed to the limit to try and make the top ten overall in FP3 after issues on Friday. With the track still drying, the #44 was unable to improve and rolled out of pit lane for Q1. Struggling to find the feeling in the dry with the revised Michelin rear slick, Espargaro set a best time of 1’31.831 – almost 0.8s slower than his fastest time from the test just a few weeks ago. An understandably frustrated Espargaro will start just behind his teammate for Sunday’s race.
Honda Team Asia in Moto3 gave the home fans something extra to cheer about as Mario Aji became the first Indonesian rider to qualify in the top three of a Grand Prix.
Forecasts remain mixed for what will happen during the race, which is scheduled to start at 15:00 Local Time. Rain could offer the Repsol Honda Team the opportunity to show their true potential as the revised rear continues to struggle for grip.