Monster Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales was fastest in both wet and dry conditions on the first day of MotoGP practice at Phillip Island, topping the day’s combined times by the business end of half a second from Andrea Dovizioso with Cal Crutchlow in third.
But it wasn’t good news for French wunderkind Fabio Quartaro who sat out the dry afternoon session following a big crash in the wet morning practice. The Petronas Yamaha man crashed at Siberia which left him with a big hematoma and bruising on the top of the foot, with the medication Quartararo took forcing him to sit out the dry afternoon session.
Fastest in the wet was Viñales and straight out the gate in FP2, the Spaniard was down to business to sit at the top of the times. It could be the only dry session of the weekend ahead of the race, so the riders were busy trying different tyre options to get a good idea of what to use on Sunday, if it’s dry.
On the hard-hard combination, Marc Marquez went fastest but with 15 minutes to go Viñales slammed in a time almost half a second quicker on a medium-hard Michelin combination to move the goalposts.
A mini qualifying then played out as the riders stuck in the soft tyres, with home hero Jack Miller going second. With less than 10 to go, Valentino Rossi and Dovizioso were sitting outside the provisional automatic Q2 places, both the Italians jumping comfortably inside the top 10 though as Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci set fast times to bag third and fourth places.
No one could get close enough to topple Viñales though, and the Yamaha man was going even quicker. After going 0.3 clear, the number 12 then set the first and only 1’28 of the weekend to go over half a second ahead, only for Dovi to slightly dent that gap as the chequered flag came out.
Marquez’ last flying lap in FP2 was hindered by a clash with teammate Jorge Lorenzo in the final sector as the reigning champion ended the day in sixth. Rossi claimed seventh after taking fourth in FP1, ‘The Doctor’ finishes faster than Suzuki’s Alex Rins , Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro in what could be a crucial FP2 session in terms of Q2 slots.
Rins’ team-mate Joan Mir bagged 11th place with Karel Abraham (yes, really) in 12th place. Andrea Iannone put his Aprilia in 13th, one ahead of Pecco Bagnaia’s Pramac Ducati.
Returning Frenchman Johann Zarco ended his first day on the LCR Honda in 15th place, 1.6s off the pace but still in front of Jorge Lorenzo by a position. Pol Espargaro was the fastest of the KTMs in 17th place.