MotoGP Austria: Miller commands FP1| Christina Bulpett | MotoGP
Ducati Lenovo’s Jack Miller dominated the opening AustrianGP free practice at the Red Bull Ring with a 1’30.756 on slick tyres.
Prima Pramac’s Johann Zarco and Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir completed the top three from the second purple Desmosedici of Jorge Martin with reigning MotoGP Champion Fabio Quartararo in fifth.
A drying track saw premier class practice action fire up at the Red Bull Ring after heavy storms across the mountains overnight. Zarco leading the early times with a 1’40.413 as the prototype machines got to grips with the revised layout at turn two.
Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira was on top after ten minutes on track as the Portuguese rider set 1’38.843 pace. Zarco remaining in check from a pair of Suzuki GSX-RRs before Mir took charge overall only to be bettered seconds later by Miller.
Mooney VR46’s Luca Marini sat sixth just 0.051s faster than Aprilia test rider Lorenzo Savadori as the pair circulated on the bubble of 1’40 as Maverick Viñales promoted the RS-GP to the lead with a 1’38.3. Miller quickly matching the effort by 0.001s before Oliveira once again mastered his manufacturer’s home track three-tenths quicker.
LCR Honda fielded a team attack in seventh and eighth at the half ways stage, neatly behind the Suzuki pairing, while Martin and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Quartararo rounded out the top ten. Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro demoting the reigning champion with his ninth revolution despite the Spaniard still carrying a broken heel after his Silverstone highside.
Suzuki was in charge in the second half as Mir led Alex Rins with a 1’37.153 lap. Zarco, Oliveira and Miller remained in the top five with Viñales, Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia, KTM’s Brad Binder and the LCR duo or Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami completing the top ten. Oliveira was the first out on track on slick tyres as conditions improved in the closing quarter of an hour as Zarco claimed the first 1’36 of the day, while still on wets.
Repsol Honda’s Poł Espargaro improved with his 14th lap as he entered the top five for the first time this weekend, a second and a half adrift of the Frenchman out front. Marini demoting him next time around as the Italian arrived on slicks before teammate Marco Bezzecchi stormed to fourth, improving his time by over three seconds.
The times began to tumble as the slick Michelins were utilised in full. Bezzecchi then Oliveira battling for top honours with WithU Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso rounding out the top three before the veteran Italian had his best effort deleted.
Miller obliterated the standings with a 1’32.987 on his 15th effort in the final six minutes with Bradl holding second, over a second adrift. Pramac’s Martin slotting in to the runners up position before Marquez, then Quartararo, arrived and the pace continued to pick up.
Bezzecchi and Dovizioso were back at the sharp end as the session continued to ignite, Miller continuing to advance the pace from Quartararo, Zarco and Marquez with Viñales then Martin slotting to fourth in quick succession. Rins arrived to second with two minutes on the clock as the only rider so far to match the Australian in the 1’31’s, albeit seven-tenths separating the leading pair, with the reigning champion a further half second adrift. Gresini’s Enea Bastianini making his presence felt for the first time in FP1 as he too looked to join the top five.
As the chequered flag prepared, the times continued to flicker. Miller striving for more with his final effort before concluding the session with a 1’30.756 six-tenths faster than Zarco, Mir, Martin and Quartararo with Rins, Binder, Nakagami, Bastianini and Dovizioso rounding out the top ten. Viñales, Bezzecchi and Oliveira headed Marquez and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Franky Morbidelli in the top 15 with title rivals Bagnaia and Espargaro disappointingly adrift in 16th and 17th.