Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was the fastest man on Friday at the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich and the only rider into the 1:23 bracket in FP1, moving two tenths clear of teammate Jorge Lorenzo. And just behind the two at the top, the Ducati attack continued – with top Independent Team rider Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) locking out the top three on the combined timesheets and pipping reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) to the honour.
FP1 saw some big time attacks as doubts about the weather forecast continued, and they were proved right as the dry and pleasant conditions of FP1 were a distant memory come FP2. A downpour delayed the session and conditions remained very wet when action continued, with Scott Redding (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) looking like he was going to end FP2 on top. But Marquez struck back and the Brit was relegated to second…ahead of the familiar trio of Petrucci, Lorenzo and Dovizioso, who also showed great pace in the wet.
Overall, however, it’s Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) who completes the top five from his FP1 time, ahead of Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol). Tito Rabat (Real Avintia Racing) took P8 on yet another Borgo Panigale machine as Ducati dominated the top ten – with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) the top Yamaha in P9.
It was a more difficult morning for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, although Maverick Viñales ended the day in P10 and Valentino Rossi in P11. For Viñales the day began much further down the timesheets, but for Rossi it began almost off them. An early technical problem for the ‘Doctor’ saw him forced to pull over and then head out on his second bike, costing him some time. Right at the end of FP1 Viñales pipped him to provisional graduation to Q2, leaving Rossi at risk of not making it through if the rain pays another visit to Spielberg in FP3...
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was P12 overall and fastest Aprilia in the dry, ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team), Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and KTM’s lone home team representative Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who was P6 in the wet to impress, too.