Marc Marquez eased fears over Honda’s competitiveness heading into the new season by topping the timesheets on day one of the pre-season test at Phillip Island. The world champion held off a late charge by Valentino Rossi to end the day on top while three other Honda riders made up the overall top ten in Australia.
The day initially started with a continuation of the pattern seen at the two previous tests in Valencia and Malaysia, as Maverick Vinales dominated proceedings for Yamaha. The Spaniard was the first rider to break the 1:30 barrier shortly before lunchtime but Marquez usurped his compatriot early in the afternoon.
A flurry of late improvements threatened to shake up the order with Rossi, who had previously languished outside the top ten, improving to a 1:29.683 but Marquez had also found time on his final run of the day, ensuring he would finish two tenths clear of the nine-time world champion. Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone also broke into the 1:29s late on to claim third, relegating Vinales to fourth.
2016 Phillip Island winner Cal Crutchlow took sixth ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Dani Pedrosa who topped the timesheets early in the morning before failing to improve thereafter. Andrea Dovizioso was the leading factory Ducati rider in eighth, three places ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, while Jack Miller and Jonas Folger completed the top ten.
Alvaro Bautista, one of the stars of the Sepang test, found life much tougher at Phillip Island, suffering a crash during the morning before finishing twelfth, while British rookie Sam Lowes also came unstuck, losing control of his Aprilia at Siberia on his way to 21st spot.
2017 MotoGP Official Pre-Season Test: Phillip Island (Day One)
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