Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was the fastest man on Friday at the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich
With rain forecast for the afternoon, the first session provided all the important times for MotoGP. With a strong possibility of more rain tomorrow morning, the first-session would determine who goes straight into Q2 tomorrow, and who will have to fight to the top two positions of Q1 to join them.
The morning gave the best possible news to Ducati riders, holding the top three positions; and the worst to Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha), out of the crucial top ten in 11th. Rossi had to go through the session with just one bike, after his first rattled to a stop early on as it passed the pits.
The top two slots, as at last weekend’s Brno race, went to factory team-mates Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, with two tenths between them. The third finisher there was Marc Marquez, but today the Repsol Honda rider was fourth, with another Ducati ahead – Danilo Petrucci’s Alma Pramac machine.
Andrea Iannone was fifth on the Ecstar Suzuki, his team-mate Alex Rins way down in 14th; Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) sixth.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Ducati), Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha) and Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) completed the top ten.
The afternoon session was delayed by a cloudburst, and was run in fully (sometimes very fully) wet conditions, with most riders waiting until the last 20 minutes or so before going out.
Marquez was one of the latest out, and immediately jumped to the top of the pile, displacing long-time session leader Scott Redding (Aprilia) by fully half a second.
Petrucci was third; then Lorenzo, Dovizioso, KTM’s sole entrant Bradley Smith, Rins and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Ducati).
As with MotoGP, Moto2’s morning times set the pace, for the afternoon was sodden; while in line with a remarkable year for this former Cinderella class, times were very close, the top 22 inside one second.
At the top, erstwhile championship leader Pecco Bagnaia (SKY VR46 KTM), by six hundredths from Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex), with two more of the same chassis right up close – Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Kalex) and Alex Marquez (EG-VDS Kalex).
Then came Fabio Quartararo’s Speed Up, from the Kalexes of Luc Marini and Andrea Locatelli. Sam Lowes in eighth was the best of the KTMs; with new championship leader Miguel Oliveira 16th, less than half-a-second off pole.
The drenched afternoon gave different riders a chance to float to the surface … in this case the pair riding the new-this-year NTS machines. American rookie Joe Roberts was fastest, until his team-mate, South African Steven Odendaal pipped him at the end by less than a quarter of a second. Marini was third in the wet; Tech 3 rider Remy Gardner fourth, Bagnaia tenth and Oliveira a stay-indoors 30th.
Moto3 had one dry session, and one partly dry in the afternoon, and maybe half the riders went faster before spitting rain came in the latter stages.
All the same, the top two times came from the morning, with Jaume Massia (Bester KTM) and championship leader Marco Bezzecchi (Redox KTM) top of the sheets.
John McPhee (Green Power KTM) moved to third fastest in the afternoon, displacing Lorenzo Dalla Porta, on the top Honda.
Gabriel Rodrigo and Philipp Oettl (both KTM) were next, then the Hondas of Bastianini and Toba.
Former championship leader Jorge Martin, out injured from last weekend’s Czech Republic race, was a tentative 26th, less than a week after surgery to a wrist fracture, but promised improvement tomorrow.
Nicolo Bulega, placed tenth behind Alberto Arenas, closed the session with a major high-side at the first corner, his looping bike hitting Nakarin Atiratphuvapat while he was taking avoiding action. Both escaped serious injury; Nico Antonelli also fell as a result, but was able to remount directly.