Australia's Miller 20th after challenging day in Austria.
After just being pipped to the post in FP1, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) hit back in the afternoon at the Austrian grand prix as action ended in a shootout, coming out on top by two tenths to keep Ducati’s stranglehold on the venue.
Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was second quickest after a late lap, ahead of Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa as the number 26 impressed on day one.
FP1 was dry and topped by Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) by a few thousandths ahead of Dovizioso, after the Italian exceeded track limits on what had been his fastest lap.
A shootout also ended that session as doubts about the weather circulated, with provisional qualification to Q2 at the forefront of everyone’s minds. But FP2, despite beginning with some damp patches, soon dried out – and the majority of the field made good use of the good conditions to improve their times.
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was another threat for the top in the latter stages of FP2, and the French rookie ended day one in fourth – very much in line for entry to Q2 should the bad weather return for FP3. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) was another big hitter in the second session of the day, and the ‘Spartan’ completed the top five after taking four tenths off his morning’s best.
Hector Barbera was one who didn’t go faster in FP2, and the Spaniard is therefore seventh on the combined timesheets with his laptime from the first session – only 0.015s off Lorenzo. Behind him was reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), who was seventh quickest on day one and only a further 0.018 behind Barbera. Marquez also had a run off in FP2, but remained upright and got back on track.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) kept the incredibly tight timesheets taught in P8, just 0.019 off seventh, ahead of a solid first day for Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini). Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) completed the top 10, edging out Pull&Bear Aspar Team’s Alvaro Bautista.
P12 was another incredible performance from Pol Espargaro as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing take part in their first home grand prix, ahead of nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) – the biggest name who could be at risk of heading through Q1 should the weather set in on Saturday morning.
Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) and Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) locked out the fastest 15. Australian Jack Miller (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was 20th after enduring a challenging day at the Austrian circuit.
In Moto2, FP1 was interrupted by a dramatic downpour, but a fully dry FP2 gave the field one good session of time on track at least. In the final minutes, it was points leader Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who hit the top, taking over from key title rival Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) by only 0.031s.
Another key frontrunner, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), was third.Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) was a crasher in FP2 – rider ok – but takes fourth overall from his best lap, ahead of an impressive performance from Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team) to complete the top five. Aussie Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) 21st to conclude the opening day, narrowly missing out on the top 20.
The opening Moto3 session was reigned by Joan Mir (Leopard Racing), and the combined timesheets told the same story by the and of action as FP2 was interrupted by rain. The Majorcan’s best from the morning was unthreatened, with Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) the closest challenger a few tenths back. Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) was third.
Canet was the master of the afternoon session as conditions changed from damp patches to drying and then back to rain, with Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team) second in the tricky conditions and Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) taking third. On the combined timesheets, Bastianini was P4 from his FP1 time, with Dutchman Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completing the top five.
Bikes will be back on-track tomorrow for qualifying, with racing set to get underway on Sunday.