Despite conditions being perfect for the start of the final 45-minute practice, improvements on the combined order were few and far between for much of FP3.
Friday pacesetter Bagnaia set the early pace on his factory team Ducati with a 1m20.690s on the individual session timesheet.
But it wouldn’t be until the final 20 minutes when the first significant mover on the combined order came courtesy of KTM’s Miguel Oliveira.
The Portuguese rider lifted himself from 17th to 10th with a 1m20.554s, which also put him top in FP3, before Joan Mir on the Suzuki demoted him with a 1m20.549s on his first soft tyre time attack lap with 15 minutes to go.
A few moments later, Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro set off on his soft tyre run and lit up the timing screens.
Espargaro set a new lap record with a 1m20.013s on his first effort, before creeping towards the first-ever 1m19s lap of the Sachsenring with a 1m20.007s.
But the Aprilia rider was left frustrated after his second lap as he came across a slow Franco Morbidelli at the final corner – the incident placed under investigation by race direction.
Behind Espargaro, Bagnaia was setting fastest sectors and finally smashed into the 1m20s barrier with a 1m19.833s with just under 10 minutes remaining.
The Ducati rider continued to up the pace and fired in a 1m19.765s on his following tour to move 0.204s clear of the field.
Bagnaia’s lap would remain the benchmark through to the chequered flag, with Aleix Espargaro shadowing him by 0.064s.
Jack Miller completed the top three on the second of the factory team Ducatis, with Pramac duo Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin the last of the riders breaking into the 1m19s bracket.
Reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo endured an odd end to his session when he was on course to potentially beat Bagnaia’s lap time.
The Yamaha rider was forced to back out of a flying lap late on due to a crash for Alex Marquez, with Quartararo’s helmet visor breaking off as he looked behind him while easing off the throttle.
Quartararo tried desperately to smash his visor back into place as so he could go for a final time attack, but was forced back to pitlane.
A crash at the same time for Takaaki Nakagami on the second LCR Honda at Turn 1 brought out more yellow flags, which ultimately proved beneficial for Quartararo as it stopped riders around him from improving their times.
As a result, Quartararo has made it into Q2 in sixth ahead of Mir and VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini – who was eighth overall by virtue of his FP2 best, but was only 15th in FP3 – Nakagami and Maverick Vinales on the second Aprilia.
Oliveira’s stint inside the Q2 places remained short-lived as he ended up 11th overall ahead of VR46’s Marc Bezzecchi, who crashed early on exiting Turn 12, and Gresini rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio.
Pol Espargaro’s struggles in Germany continued on Saturday as the factory Honda rider was only 14th ahead of KTM’s Brad Binder, while the injured Alex Rins faded to 17th ahead of Gresini’s Enea Bastianini.
Qualifying for the 2022 MotoGP German GP is due to get underway at 2:10pm local time.
MotoGP German GP – FP3 results