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Aleix Espargaro heads Marquez & Dovizioso on day 1 at Philip Island

Written by  Oct 20, 2017

Aleix Espargaro went quickest on Day 1 of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, mastering Phillip Island in FP2 to head the timesheets ahead of reigning Champion and points leader Marc Marquez – but not by much.

It was only 0.005 seconds splitting the two men, with Marquez’ key title rival Andrea Dovizioso in third and still within a tenth. The top on Day 1 was anything but lonely.

Weather on Day 1 was sunny and fair but with some wind giving pause for thought, and the forecast for Saturday remains a worry for some – with temperatures looking set to fall.

That made for some good squabbling for position, with a real chance that FP1 and FP2 combined timesheets may decide direct entry to Q2 should FP3 not give the field a chance to improve their times.

Behind the top three, last year’s winner at the Island Cal Crutchlow was fourth fastest after moving up the timesheets in FP2 to get in the mix at the front, ahead of Maverick Viñales. Viñales, who topped testing at the venue in preseason, also suffered a crash in the afternoon as he slid off at Turn 8 – rider ok.

Jack Miller impressed in the morning and again in the afternoon as he rides at home and only three weeks after breaking his leg in a training accident.

The rider from Townsville put his Honda in sixth, and was a fitting 0.043 off Viñales ahead of him. Andrea Iannone was another who enjoyed a notable Friday, with the Italian’s P4 at Motegi giving him a boost and Day 1 of the Australian GP seeing the former podium finisher at the venue put himself in seventh.

Johann Zarco had a solid start to the Australian GP in eighth, with the Frenchman gunning for the Rookie of the Year title and, with the absence of teammate Jonas Folger, needing only a top six finish to complete the task on Sunday. Dani Pedrosa was ninth quickest, and was back nearer the front following a tough Japanese GP.

The next three names on the timesheets made some headlines, as Pol Espargaro went a tenth quicker in the afternoon to take P10, leaving both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi in eleventh and twelfth respectively.

That could be a hurdle for the two multiple World Champions as the weather remains in doubt for Saturday, when automatic graduation to Q2 will be finalised.

FP2 result

Pos Rider Team Time Gap 1st/Prev
1 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1'29.225  
2 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1'29.230 0.005 / 0.005
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 1'29.322 0.097 / 0.092
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda 1'29.329 0.104 / 0.007
5 Maverick VIÑALES Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1'29.423 0.198 / 0.094
6 Jack MILLER EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1'29.466 0.241 / 0.043
7 Andrea IANNONE Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1'29.604 0.379 / 0.138
8 Johann ZARCO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'29.667 0.442 / 0.063
9 Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team 1'29.702 0.477 / 0.035
10 Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1'29.760 0.535 / 0.058
11 Jorge LORENZO Ducati Team 1'29.820 0.595 / 0.060
12 Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1'29.977 0.752 / 0.157
13 Karel ABRAHAM Pull&Bear Aspar Team 1'29.987 0.762 / 0.010
14 Bradley SMITH Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1'30.046 0.821 / 0.059
15 Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1'30.085 0.860 / 0.039
16 Scott REDDING OCTO Pramac Racing 1'30.140 0.915 / 0.055
17 Danilo PETRUCCI OCTO Pramac Racing 1'30.269 1.044 / 0.129
18 Loris BAZ Reale Avintia Racing 1'30.274 1.049 / 0.005
19 Tito RABAT EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1'30.546 1.321 / 0.272
20 Sam LOWES Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1'30.682 1.457 / 0.136
21 Hector BARBERA Reale Avintia Racing 1'30.777 1.552 / 0.095
22 Alvaro BAUTISTA Pull&Bear Aspar Team 1'31.688 2.463 / 0.911
23 Broc PARKES Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'32.152 2.927 / 0.464

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