Crutchlow fastest as rain curtails Island practice

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow emerged quickest on the opening day of the MotoGP Australian Grand Prix after heavy rain forced organisers to abandon second practice at Phillip Island.

The LCR Honda rider was quickest in the opening practice session held in wet conditions at the Victorian circuit before the weather worsened in the afternoon.

Organisers delayed the start of the second 45 minute practice session to allow the track to dry before green flags eventually flew.

However, torrential rain returned 15 minutes into the run, bringing out the red flags with the session ultimately abandoned due to the dangerous conditions.

A track inspection was completed at 1645 local time where it was confirmed that track running would be curtailed for the remainder of the day.

The decision also saw the following Moto2 session canned.

As a result, Crutchlow’s 1:40.95s set before the rain intensified midway through the first session proved to be the fastest time of the day.

Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi ended the session second just 0.041s adrift the Brit, although the nine-time world champion’s best result was scrubbed due to a technical infringement.

Rossi exceeded the stint length on the super soft wet tyre imposed by Michelin, which dropped him to 20th in the results.

The Italian will now need to produce an impressive display in Saturday’s third practice to ensure he secures a spot in Q2.

Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci inherited second spot while Australia’s Jack Miller finished third as he made the most of the tricky wet conditions.

The Assen GP winner was half a second adrift of Crutchlow aboard the Marc VDS Honda.

Newly crowned three-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez (Honda) was fourth.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), Maverick Vinales (Suzuki), Pol Espargaro (Tech3 Yamaha), Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) and Dani Pedrosa’s replacement Nicky Hayden completed the top 10 for Honda.

Meanwhile, Brisbane’s Mike Jones was comfortably faster than Avintia Ducati team-mate Loris Baz to claim 13th spot.

Australia’s Remy Gardner put a dramatic week behind him to finish 10th in the only practice session for Moto2.

Gardner’s appearance at the event was placed in doubt after being detained by Japanese police following an alleged road rage incident that saw his father and 1987 500cc world champion Wayne Gardner arrested.

Jonas Folger topped the times from Danny Kent and Johann Zarco.

Nicolo Beluga was quickest in Moto3 while Australian wildcard Matt Barton ended the day in 30th position.

Result: MotoGP Australian Grand Prix Practice 1

Position Rider Team Time Gap Laps
1 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1:40.95s 8
2 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati 141.01 0.05s 16
3 Jack Miller Marc VDS Honda 1:41.45 0.50 12
4 Marc Marquez Honda 1:41.51 0.55 13
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1:41.56 0.61 13
6 Maverick Vinales Suzuki 1:41.81 0.85 10
7 Pol Espargaro Tech3 Yamaha 1:42.46 1.50 15
8 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1:42.95 1.99 15
9 Nicky Hayden Honda 1:43.01 2.05 15
10 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 1:43.07 2.11 12
11 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati 1:43.13 2.17 16
12 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati 1:43.31 2.35 13
13 Mike Jones Avintia Ducati 1:43.48 2.52 16
14 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati 1:44.17 3.21 10
15 Tito Rabat Marc VDS Honda 1:44.17 3.22 17
16 Eugene Laverty Aspar Ducati 1:44.18 3.22 13
17 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1:44.55 3.59 14
18 Hector Barbera Ducati 1:44.79 3.83 19
19 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1:45.65 4.69 9
20 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1:47.22 6.26 14
Bradley Smith Tech3 Yamaha 1:49.00 8.05 7

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