Maverick Viñales sent a warning to his rivals in Free Practice by dominating in both wet and dry conditions at Phillip Island.
The Monster Yamaha rider edged out local hero Jack Miller in the wet morning session. Viñales then extended his lead in the dry afternoon session, posting an unbeatable time of 1:28.824.
Last year’s race winner was quick on both the hard and soft tyre too. In fact, Viñales was the only rider inside the 1:28 lap-times.
The only rider within half-a-second of him was Andrea Dovizioso. After the Italian, the riders are all really close on lap-times.
Cal Crutchlow is just +0.005s behind Dovizioso in third spot. Meanwhile, Danilo Petrucci is only a further +0.002s back in fourth. Miller made it three Ducati riders inside the top five, only +0.017s behind Petrucci. The Italian manufacturer will be delighted with Friday’s results, given their recent struggles at Phillip Island.
Marc Marquez ended the day in sixth overall. It looked like he may have been able to challenge Viñales’ time, however he clashed with team-mate Jorge Lorenzo on his final lap.
Lorenzo held the inside line at the apex of turn 11, with Marquez attempting to go around the outside. There wasn’t enough room for both bikes and they hit each other. As a result, one of Lorenzo’s wings was knocked off his Repsol Honda.
Valentino Rossi finished the day seventh overall, only +0.015s behind Marquez. Alex Rins was next in eighth, again extremely close to the rider ahead of him.
Franco Morbidelli and Aleix Espargaro complete the top 10. The latter is the last rider to be within a second of Viñales’ time.
It was a tough day for newly-crowned Rookie of the Year Fabio Quartararo. The 20-year-old suffered a huge highside at turn six and landed awkwardly. Quartararo instantly reached for his left leg and was taken to the medical centre.
As a result, the Frenchman sat out Free Practice 2 and will be assessed again before tomorrow’s opening session.
Elsewhere, Johann Zarco made a solid start to his three-race stint with LCR Honda. The former KTM rider ended the day 15th overall. More importantly, perhaps, Zarco was ahead of Lorenzo in both sessions. He also narrowly beat Crutchlow in the wet. Lorenzo ended the opening day in 16th.