Repsol Honda Team colleague Pedrosa was one tenth of a second slower before crashing at Rio corner two minutes before the end of the session, whereas Yamaha Factory Racing's Lorenzo finished third and fourth as they continued to adapt to their new seamless shift gearbox. Lorenzo managed a late 11-lap run, while for Rossi there was a special helmet design as a tribute to the late Marco Simoncelli, adopting the scheme of Pink Floyd's album cover for 'Wish You Were Here'.
Andrea Dovizioso jumped into the top five for Ducati Team, ahead of GO&FUN Honda Gresini's Alvaro Bautista and LCR Honda MotoGP's Stefan Bradl. For much of the session, Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was in need of finding only one thousandth of a second to break the top ten threshold, having set identical times with Ducati's Nicky Hayden.
However, the Englishman's fate was sealed as a strong lap from Andrea Iannone left the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing rider in eighth place, just ahead of leading CRT runner Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics Aspar) and the aforementioned Hayden. Crutchlow would end proceedings in 12th position, fractionally slower than Michelle Pirro and the Ignite Pramac Racing machine which suffered a small fall but was able to rejoin four minutes before the chequered flag. Since the start of 2013, the top ten riders from across practice sessions one to three make up those who proceed directly to Q2 qualifying. Prior to that, the rest of the field will take part in Q1, from which only the top two riders will be able to join the final shootout; Crutchlow will be hoping to do this, having fought hard but been unable to end this morning's session inside the overall top ten. Following the fourth and final free practice session which has no bearing on the Q1 running order, Qualifying will start at 2:10pm local time (GMT +2).