Italian left it late to go to P1 in FP2 as he heads Petrucci and Viñales, with leading Honda rider Crutchlow suffering a big Turn 1 crash
Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) left it late to leap to the top of the combined timesheets in FP2 at the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, setting a 1:29.131 on his final lap to oust Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) from P1. The two Italians were separated by 0.160, with FP1’s quickest man Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completing the top three made up of three different manufacturers.
Glorious conditions greeted the premier class for their second session of the weekend as the threat of rain cleared at Phillip Island. The start of the session didn’t go as planned for Ducati Team’s Alvaro Bautista after he crashed at Turn 6, this coming before both Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) ran into the gravel at the same corner.
Both riders were able to regroup and as is typical for FP2, the quickest times of the day were posted towards the end of the session as fresh soft compound Michelin rubber was laid down. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) went top with three minutes to go, but not for long. Viñales soon propelled himself into P1 but clinging onto his tailpipes was the Desmosedici of Petrucci, the Italian going 0.063 faster than his Yamaha counterpart to lead the session. Iannone though would have the last laugh, putting his GSX-RR top of the pile as the chequered flag came out. This meant Dovi ended Friday fourth.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) made a strong start to the Australian GP to finish P5 on the combined times, however, his Friday ended in him having a big crash at Turn 1 late in FP2. The Briton had to be stretchered off after holding his right leg as he headed straight for the medical centre for a checkup. Meanwhile, Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) got himself up into P6 towards the end of the session to jump ahead of Marquez – the Champion ends Day 1 in P7.
After finishing P2 in FP1, home hero Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) sits in a provisional automatic Q2 spot in P8 after a positive start to his weekend, with Japan podium finisher Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completing the top ten on Friday – ‘The Doctor’ keeping 11th place Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) at bay by just 0.046.
LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami was a late faller at Turn 6 – rider ok.
The battle for supremacy on the Island is looking as close as ever, with four manufacturers challenging for the top spot. Iannone takes first blood, but who will fight back on Saturday? Find out when the premier class head out for FP3 at 11:55 local time (GMT +11), with Q1 kicking off at 16:10 local time.