News 21 Oct 2016

Crutchlow tops tight opening Australian MotoGP practice

Miller and Jones start weekend strongly in wet conditions.

Image: Russell Colvin.

Image: Russell Colvin.

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow has set the early benchmark in first practice at Phillip Island’s 2016 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, meeting expectations of a strong performance in the rain forecast for this weekend.

Crutchlow posted a flying lap of 1m40.957s to lead Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) by just 0.041s, while Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Racing Ducati) was just another 0.012s in arrears following FP1.

It was a positive start to the Australian round for Townsville’s Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda), just half a second from the top spot and ahead of new world champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda).

Fellow Queenslander Mike Jones (Avintia Racing Ducati) impressed in his first outing aboard the GP14.2 in the wet, clocking the 14th fastest laptime, 2.526s back from Crutchlow’s quickest. He was comfortably ahead of teammate Loris Baz and factory Ducati-mounted Hector Barbera (Ducati Team).

Positions six through 10 in FP1 were filled by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Maverick Vinales (Team Suzuki ECSTAR), Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda), the 2006 world champion quickly coming to grips with the factory RC213V.