Sandro Cortese - Photo Credit:

Sandro Cortese - Photo Credit:

Sandro Cortese
ensured he finished on top of both Friday practice sessions in Australia after sneaking in front of Nicolas Terol in the dying seconds. The German led the morning session with a 1:38.805 and managed to improve by a quarter of a second in FP2 to outpace the championship leader.

For much of the afternoon, the riders struggled to match the benchmark set in first practice with Cortese leading at the halfway mark on a 1:39.341. His time would be bettered by an Aspar Aprilia but surprisingly it was Adrian Martin who jumped to the top of the timesheets, clocking a 1:39.327.

With six minutes remaining, Johann Zarco took over with a 1:39.247 but Martin improved again on his next lap to pip the Frenchman by six thousandths of a second. Both were forced to take a back seat though with Cortese and Terol set to resume their battle from the morning.

Terol snatched the fastest time from his teammate with three minutes to go before Cortese edged in front, but the Spaniard followed that up with the fastest time of the weekend, a 1:38.708. Cortese wasn't finished though and delivered a 1:38.530 on his final lap to secure top spot overnight.

Terol ended up in second ahead of Zarco and Martin while Alberto Moncayo took fifth for Andalucía Banca Civica. Jonas Folger finished a strong sixth with Hector Faubel separating him from teammate Danny Kent in eighth.

Luis Salom and Efren Vazquez ensured another Spanish domination of the top ten but Maverick Vinales couldn't join them after crashing at turn eight early on. As a result, the 16 year old only got a single timed lap in and dropped to 25th.

Harry Stafford finished Friday in a sensational 14th on his first visit to Melbourne but Danny Webb had a tough afternoon, crashing at the high speed final corner on his way to 16th. Meanwhile, Taylor Mackenzie will have been disappointed with 28th after failing to better his FP1 time.