Ducati chased by Quartararo on Friday

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On paper, it's Ducati domination so far at the Austrian Grand Prix as Johann Zarco, Jack Miller and Jorge Martin made it a 1-2-3 for the Bologna brand on Friday, but they've got company.

By the end of Day 1, Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was within just 0.040 of the top, and just ahead of key rival Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team).

After a mixed FP1 led by Miller and by a margin, the big stories of the day in terms of combined timesheets came in FP2, with conditions much improved and allowing some solid dry track time, as well as time to attack for a provisional place in Q2.

The majority of the field improved their FP1 times from the get-go as a busy opening to the second session of the weekend played out, with the threat of rain and automatic places in Q2 places on the minds of the teams. Initially, Bagnaia climbed to the top of the table and was shadowed by Quartararo, before Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) then went fastest. The times were going to continue to drop, however.

By 20 minutes to go, Quartararo was the pacesetter from Rins and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), with the top 10 covered by less than half a second. But clouds were drawing in and with 10 minutes left on the clock, there was a big rush in pitlane to head out on fresh soft rubber as light rain began to fall.

And that spelled bad news for second in the title race Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), as the Spaniard sat outside the top 10 in P11.

The number 41's first effort placed him in P6 while Martin and Zarco shot up to P1 and P2, with Miller improving but staying P3. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) then crashed unhurt between the penultimate and final corner, as Martin, Miller and Zarco exchanged P1 in quick succession.

Ducati had locked out the top six with four minutes to go as Bagnaia, Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP) and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) climbed up the table, but Bastianini’s lap time was then chalked off.

Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) were then well inside the top 10, before Quartararo leapt up from P11 to P4 to spoil the party. Bastianini found time again to pounce into the top 10, and that pushed Aleix Espargaro out – leaving the Championship challenger with some work to do on Saturday.

Provisional Q2 places

Zarco, Miller, Martin, Quartararo and Bagnaia is quite a top five, and the Ducati invasion keeps coming with Marini, Bezzecchi and Bastianini all up next.

There's more Italian machinery in ninth but this time in the hands of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) as the number 12 keeps his form rolling to take a provisional place in the top ten. That top ten is rounded out by 2021 winner Brad Binder flying the home flag for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in P10.

 

         

 

 

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