Marc Marquez was on pole a few minutes from time but was pushed back to sixth place.
Petronas’ teammates Morbidelli and Rossi were the only ones to choose the slicks at the start, buying them a few more minutes on the track compared to their rivals, who quickly clashed for their “dry” bikes.
However, Rossi suffered an almost high edge in the last corner, not only ruining his first flying lap, but meaning he was also slow across the line at the start of his next lap, by which time the others were up to the task as well. on slicks.
Oliveira fell 3 minutes from the finish, bringing out yellow flags, just as the rain started to fall again.
But the session was not over yet with players like Zarco, Vinales and Quartararo saving their best to last, while Pol Espargaro crashed at Turn 3.
Quartararo is riding for the first time since an arm pump operation on his right forearm.
Defending champion Mir and current world championship leader Bagnaia have not gone beyond qualifying 1 and will start from 14th and 16th place respectively.
Injured rookie Jorge Martin is again replaced by Rabat. Marquez, sidelined for nine months after complications from a fractured right arm in Jerez last July, is competing in his third event since returning to MotoGP.
Lecuona has a three-second race penalty after causing a crash, along with Alex Marquez, in Jerez.
Rain remains a risk throughout Sunday.
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Johann Zarco FRA Ducati 1 min 31.747s
Official Le Mans MotoGP records:
Johann Zarco FRA Yamaha 1 min 31,185 s (2018)
Fastest race lap:
Maverick Vinales SPA Yamaha 1 min 32,309 s (2017)