Maverick Vinales topped the timesheets for Movistar Yamaha in first practice ahead of the Australian Grand Prix as newly crowned champion Marc Marquez was brought back down to earth with a bump at Phillip Island. Vinales edged out home favourite Jack Miller to lead a significantly delayed opening session with Marquez down in sixth after his tumble.
The session started nearly two hours behind schedule after an oil spill during the opening Moto3 practice. Stefano Nepa’s KTM appeared to suffer an engine failure exiting the pitlane, dropping fluids on an already wet race track. This presented the marshals and race direction with an arduous task to clean the circuit and Nepa was later suspended for the rest of the day for irresponsible riding.
By the time the MotoGP bikes went out for the first time, the track had totally dried out but the Repsol Honda riders were still caught out. Dani Pedrosa was fortunate to escape injury after a high-speed front-end washout at Doohan’s corner while Marquez joined his team-mate on the sidelines ten minutes later, losing control under braking for the downhill MG hairpin.
Vinales encountered no such problems, putting in a tremendous eleven-lap run which culminated in a 1:29.952 to top the timesheets, boosting Yamaha’s hopes of a potential end to their 28-race winless streak. A trio of Ducatis complete the top four with Miller the only other rider to lap inside 90 seconds, closely followed by Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso.
2016 winner Cal Crutchlow started brightly before dropping to fifth while Marquez wound up sixth following his crash. Andrea Iannone was seventh for Suzuki ahead of Johann Zarco and the impressive Karel Abraham while Valentino Rossi completed the top ten, something which may be significant if the notoriously unpredictable Phillip Island weather deteriorates, locking off the top Q2 spots.
2018 Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (FP1 Result)
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