Quartararo is the only non-Ducati rider inside the top eight as Aleix Espargaro misses out on a top 10
It’s Ducati domination so far at the CryptoDATA Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich as Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) spearheads a 1-2-3 for the Bologna brand in FP2, as the Frenchman beats Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) by less than half a tenth.
Ducati domination, Aleix Espargaro outside top 10
On an arid surface after a mixed condition FP1, the majority of the field improved their FP1 times from the get-go as a busy opening to the second Free Practice session of the weekend played out, with the threat of rain and automatic Q2 places on the minds of the teams. Bagnaia climbed to the top of the table and was shadowed by Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) before Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) then went fastest. The times were going to continue to drop though.
With 20 minutes to go, Quartararo was the pacesetter from Rins and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), with the top 10 covered by less than half a second. The clouds were drawing in and with 10 minutes left on the clock, there was a big rush in pitlane to head out on fresh soft rubber as light rain began to fall. And that spelt bad news for second in the title race Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), as the Spaniard sat outside the top 10 in P11, so it was potentially crucial for Espargaro to get into the provisional automatic Q2 places.
Espargaro’s first effort placed him in P6 while Martin and Zarco shot up to P1 and P2, with Miller improving but staying P3. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crashed unhurt between the penultimate and final corner, as Martin, Miller and Zarco exchanged P1 in quick succession.
Ducatis then locked out the top six with four minutes to go as Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) climbed up the table, but Bastianini’s lap time was then chalked off.
Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) were then well inside the top 10 before Quartararo went from P11 to P4. Bastianini found time again to pounce into the top 10, which pushed Aleix Espargaro out – how costly could that prove to be?
How the top 10 looks heading into Saturday
World Championship leader Quartararo is the only non-Ducati rider sitting inside the top eight in fourth place, he’s followed on the timesheets by title rival Bagnaia, who in turn has VR46 Academy stablemates Marini and Bezzecchi for company in P6 and P7 respectively. Bastianini sits P8 ahead of FP3 on Saturday morning, the Italian edged out Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and Brad Binder inside the all-important top 10.
With rain potentially affecting FP3, all eyes will turn to the skies on Saturday morning to see if there will be any chance of being able to improve on Friday’s efforts. Tune into MotoGP™ FP3 at 09:55 local time (GMT+2) to see what unfolds.
1. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) – 1:29.837
2. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.024
3. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.029
4. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 0.040
5. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.160
6. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.193
7. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.229
8. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 0.229
9. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.276
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.291