Heavy rain overnight left the Red Bull Ring damp for the start of the FP3, although a drying line formed as the bikes hit the track for the 45-minute session.
The top position changed hands several times on the wet track, with Danilo Petrucci on the Ducati, Suzuki’s Alex Rins, Vinales on the Yamaha and Miguel Oliveira from Tech 3 KTM leading the table.
Oliveira’s lap time of 1: 31.460 minutes after 15 minutes was the benchmark for around 10 minutes before Johann Zarco led his Avintia Ducati into top-class sport with 1: 31.029 minutes.
By the time Zarco drove that lap, several riders had slicked their machines and started lighting the timing screens.
Honda’s Alex Marquez drove the first representative dry tire lap 16 minutes before the end and defeated Zarco with a time of 1: 30.038 minutes.
The reigning Moto2 world champion improved to 1: 28.576 minutes before Dovizioso took control of the time tables with 1: 27.380 minutes.
The Ducati rider drove into this lap on his next two tours, improving to 1: 26.198, 1: 25.747 and then 1: 25.479.
KTM’s Pol Espargaro briefly took the top spot, but Dovizioso took it over with 1: 24.832 minutes – a lap time that was only one-tenth out of the pace needed to improve the combined times.
Vinales proved that there was potential to improve the combined times in the final phase and jumped to seventh place overall with 1: 25.715 minutes and finished in Q2.
A minute of 24.317 would put Vinales at the top of the FP3 timesheet and third overall to cement his spot in Q2, despite KTM’s Espargaro remaining the fastest in the combined time due to his FP1 lap.
Dovizioso finished third in the session and second overall, while Jack Miller on his Pramac Ducati finished fourth in combined time after finishing second in FP3.
Oliveira finished fifth in FP3 with 1: 24.508 minutes, which earned him a Q2 place, along with Joan Mir (Suzuki), seventh-placed Espargaro and Fabio Quartararo – who after death shot in 1: 24.611s to Zarco by 0.044 seconds to beat the combined times in 10th place to get the last Q2 place.
The top 10 in FP3 was completed by Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) and Cal Crutchlow from LCR Honda, but both will compete in the first part of qualifying with Rossi and Brno race winner Brad Binder (KTM).