Viñales dominates Friday to head Dovizioso and Crutchlow

Yamaha leads Ducati and Honda after a dry end to Friday at Phillip Island

Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) went fastest in the wet and dry conditions on Friday at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix to dominate the opening day proceedings. A 1:28.824 was 0.496 better than second fastest Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in a dry FP2, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) completing the top three.

The wet conditions weren’t the ideal start to the Australian GP weekend for the MotoGP™ riders, and FP1 didn’t end great for Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT). The Rookie of the Year crashed at Turn 6 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. The Frenchman is expected to be ok for the rest of the weekend. 

Fastest in the wet was Viñales and, pretty much straight out the gate in FP2, the Spaniard was straight 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 try and get a good idea of what to use on Sunday, if it’s dry of course. On the hard-hard combination, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) went fastest but with 15 minutes to go Viñales slammed in a time almost half a second quicker on the medium-hard Michelin tyres to move the goalposts.

A mini qualifying then played out as the riders stuck in the soft tyres, with home hero Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) going second. With less than 10 to go, Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) 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 (Ducati Team) set fast times. 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.

So at the end of play on Friday, Viñales is the man to beat in both the wet and dry conditions – a real gauntlet laid. Dovizioso was P10 in FP1 but managed to find some better pace in the dry to finish P2, while Crutchlow sits as the leading Honda in third having struggled to P14 in the wet. Petrucci and Miller claim P4 and P5 as three GP19s sit inside the top five on a track that doesn’t typically suit the Desmosedici machines – both riders comfortably inside the top 10 in both conditions.

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 P6. Rossi claimed P7 after finishing P4 in FP1, ‘The Doctor’ finishes faster than Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro in what could be a crucial FP2 session in terms of Q2 slots.

Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) suffered a fast off at Turn 8, the Spaniard thankfully walking away relatively unharmed, with Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) going down at Turn 2 in the latter stages – rider ok.

Top 10:
1. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – 1:28.824
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) + 0.496
3. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) + 0.501
4. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) + 0.503
5. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) + 0.520
6. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.597
7. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.612
8. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.648
9. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.894
10. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.967

Click here for the full results!

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