Australia's Miller and Dovizioso poised to strike in second and third positions.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro has rebounded from another contentious race result last weekend to top free practice at the Grand Prix of Styria, the second leg of the MotoGP double header in Austria.
Espargaro laid down his fastest time in the afternoon session while Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) topped the morning, making him second on combined times and 0.221s behind.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was a mere 0.004s behind Miller, once again with a time set in the morning session.
This race is the second Austrian encounter in a double-header to be held at the Red Bull Ringg, Speilberg. It was revealed yesterday that injured Frenchman Johann Zarco will start from pit-lane if he takes the track this weekend in Austria after undergoing scaphoid surgery on Wednesday. The penalty is sanction for his high-speed clash with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) that caused last weekend’s chaos and was confirmed this morning.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) rebounded strongly after the drama surrounding his clash with KTM stablemate Espargaro last weekend, to finish fourth on combined times from Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). This result means three bikes in the top five are from independent teams, albeit running current machinery.
The Suzuki’s of Joan Mir and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) were again strong, taking sixth and seventh respectively. The struggle in Austria continues for Yamaha with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) highest placed in eighth from Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT). Brno winnerBrad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) rounded out the top ten.
For the second week running, Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) has impressed on Friday and topped the combined Moto2 timesheets from last weekend’s Austrian GP polesitter Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), who was just 0.016 behind. Race winner from last weekend, Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completed the top three, who were all covered by 0.060s.
After just missing the podium in fifth last weekend, Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) finished the fastest man in Friday practice in the Moto3 category with a lap of 1m35.997s, his time set in the morning session. Championship leader Albert Arenas (Valresa Aspar Team) ended up 0.306s behind in second place followed by Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) in third.
In the Red Bull Rookies Cup, Australian Billy Van Eerde has qualified on the third row this week, a much-improved result after starting last week’s race from 20th position. On pole after his victory double last weekend is Spanish 16-year-old Pedro Acosta. The top ten were covered by a second with Daniel and David Muñoz second and third.
Australian Van Eerde, a podium finisher at last year’s event, fought to a 15-7 result last weekend to salvage 10 points, leaving him 11th in the standings.