Marquez sets pace on opening day at Phillip Island

Marc Marquez flies around Phillips Island
Marc Marquez flies around Phillip Island

Marc Marquez ended Friday's practice fastest ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Maverick Vinales, with Valentino Rossi in ninth.

Repsol Honda's Marquez had played second fiddle to Lorenzo in the morning's damp FP1 session at the Pramac Australian Grand Prix. Then, as the track dried and the sun came out (Track temp. 35ËšC) in the afternoon it was the reigning MotoGP World Champion who ended the day on top. Marquez set a 1'29.383 to finish just five-hundredths of a second ahead of Lorenzo on the combined timesheet's, although he was still some way off the Pole Record set in 2014 (J. Lorenzo – 1'27.899).

Movistar Yamaha's Lorenzo (+0.050s) began his bid at closing down the 18-point gap in the standings to his teammate Rossi by topping FP1, before having to settle for second overall. The Spaniard improved by over half a second in FP2, in a session that saw the top 13 riders separated by less than nine-tenths of a second.

Team Suzuki Ecstar's Maverick Vinales recovered from crashing out of the race at Motegi to complete the provisional front row, just 0.135s off the pace of Marquez. Vinales took advantage of the sweet handling of his GSX-RR to finish ahead of Andrea Iannone (+0.161s) on the Ducati Team GP15. The Italian is looking to bounce back strongly at Phillip Island after his first DNF of the season at the Japanese GP due to technical issues.

LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow (+0.196s) was the leading Satellite rider in fifth as less than two tenths of second separated the top five riders. Brit Crutchlow clearly likes the Australian track as he recorded only his second MotoGP podium at Phillip Island in 2012 and crashed out of a comfortable second in last year's race on the very last lap.

Race winner at Motegi Dani Pedrosa (+0.493s) was further 0.297s back in sixth, ahead of Pramac Racing's Danilo Petrucci and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 of Bradley Smith in eighth.

Championship leader Rossi found himself down in ninth, 0.658s off the pace of Marquez, but the 'Doctor' did not switch to a fresh set of tires at the end of FP2 like the majority of the riders. The Italian, who will equal the all-time record of 328 GP starts on Sunday, preferring instead to work on his pace on used tires, instead of worrying about setting a flying lap.

Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed the top ten while Jack Miller (LCR Honda), who had earlier finished fifth during FP1, was the leading Open class rider in eleventh, just 0.057s ahead of Nicky Hayden (Aspar MotoGP Team) in 12th. Ducati Team's Andrea Dovizioso struggled throughout the day, and found himself down in 14th, over a second off the pace of Pole man Marquez. Scott Redding (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) ended the day in 17th, ahead of Irishman Eugene Laverty (Aspar MotoGP Team) in 18th.

Karel Abraham's replacement in the AB Motoracing Team, Anthony West, was 24th fastest. Damian Cudlin (E-Motion IodaRacing Team), who is substituting for the injured Alex De Angelis, was in 25th.

Results

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time
1 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'29.383
2 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1'29.433
3 VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1'29.518
4 IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1'29.544
5 CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda Honda 1'29.579
6 PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'29.876
7 PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 1'30.021
8 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1'30.032
9 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1'30.041
10 ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1'30.113
11 MILLER Jack 43 AUS LCR Honda Honda 1'30.127
12 HAYDEN Nicky 69 USA Aspar MotoGP Team Honda 1'30.184
13 BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Avintia Racing Ducati 1'30.278
14 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1'30.451
15 ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1'30.552
16 HERNANDEZ Yonny 68 COL Pramac Racing Ducati 1'30.660
17 REDDING Scott 45 GBR Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1'30.773
18 LAVERTY Eugene 50 IRE Aspar MotoGP Team Honda 1'30.910
19 BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1'31.260
20 DI MEGLIO Mike 63 FRA Avintia Racing Ducati 1'31.339
21 BRADL Stefan 6 GER Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1'31.577
22 ELIAS Toni 24 SPA AB Motoracing Honda 1'32.122
23 BAZ Loris 76 FRA Athina Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 1'32.309
24 WEST Anthony 13 AUS AB Motoracing Honda 1'32.592
25 CUDLIN Damian 55 AUS E-Motion IodaRacing Team ART 1'34.479

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