If the 2019 MotoGP World Championship didn’t look ominous enough after Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez’s elite display in Brno just five days ago (August 4), well free practice for the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix may have just cemented the form that the reigning World Champion is currently on.
However early on Friday signs looked good for Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso, showing exactly what everyone expected from Ducati by leading free practice one by 0.185 from Marc Marquez.
Both the Monster Energy Factory Yamaha Team and the Sattelite Sepang Racing Team Yamaha’s made a strong start to the weekend with Maverick Vinales ending the first session third with team-mate Valentino Rossi fifth and rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo sixth, on arguably Yamaha’s weakest track of the year.
The most notable performances in free practice one, however, were home team rider Johann Zarco who managed to put his RedBull KTM eighth just six tenths behind Andrea Dovizioso, Tech3 RedBull KTM rookie Miguel Olivera put in an impressive performance putting himself inside the all-important top ten.
In free practice two, Marc Marquez took control back from the Ducati Team, who seemingly looked as though they were struggling to get a lap time together, with free practice one fastest man Andrea Dovizioso only managing ninth.
Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo showed that Yamaha’s strong showing in the first practice was not a fluke with Vinales improving to tenth and Quartararo improving to fourth. Interestingly Quatararo tried the carbon Ohlins front forks, historically Quatararo has used the older aluminum forks.
Miguel Olivera phenomenally put his Tech3 RedBull KTM into sixth position ending the day as top KTM rider, pushed all the way by Pol Espargaro who finished the day tenth.
Free practice three is the last session in which riders can put themselves inside the top ten, the importance of the top ten is due to the qualifying format, the top ten will go through to qualifying two, from eleventh to twenty-second the riders have to go through qualifying one where only the fastest two will compete in the second session for pole.
Marc Marquez again dominated the last timed practice session and again ahead of Maverick Vinales, both Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci put the struggles of free practice two behind them managing to complete the session third and fourth posting exactly the same time.
Valentino Rossi managed to get his Monster Energy Yamaha inside the top ten showing the step forward that Yamaha has made in the Brno test on Monday (August 5).
Miguel Olivera the hero of Friday just missed out on making it into qualifying two, missing out by less than one-tenth of a second, meaning he would have to compete through qualifying one.
Pol Espargaro gave KTM fans something to cheer about however managing to put his Factory KTM into tenth position, and with his qualifying form her could produce a special lap for the Austrian KTM fans.
The riders who would go directly into qualifying two were, Marc Marquez, Maverick Vinales, Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci, Fabio Quartararo, Valentino Rossi, Jack Miller, Takaaki Nakagami, Alex Rins, and Pol Esparagro.