Zarco pips Miller as Ducati dominates MotoGP Friday practice in Austria
Saturday 20th August, 2022 - 2:52am
Johann Zarco has beaten Ducati stablemate Jack Miller to Friday practice honours at the Austrian MotoGP round by 0.024s.
Despite the introduction of a chicane at Turn 2 which dramatically slows the first and second sectors of the Red Bull Ring, the Bologna bullets dominated the opening day of Round 13.
Seven Ducati riders sat in the top eight at the end of Free Practice 2, the odd man out being championship-leading Monster Energy Yamaha pilot Fabio Quartararo, while Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro is in danger of going into Q1 after missing the top 10.
Miller had set the pace in Free Practice 1 with a 1:30.756s and while his margin over the field was a big 0.618s, the track was still drying during that session after morning rain and hence the time would quickly be knocked off in the afternoon running.
It took fellow Ducati Lenovo Team rider Francesco Bagnaia three flying laps to do so when he clocked a 1:30.591s, and Quartararo had got the benchmark down to a 1:30.285s with just over 10 minutes elapsed.
Light rain began to fall with around 10 minutes to go but, with new Michelin slicks fitted to at least the rear of their Desmosedicis, Jorge Martin, Miller, and finally Zarco punched out new fastest lap times.
The Frenchman finished on top with a 1:29.837s, Miller took second on a 1:29.861s, and Martin would make for two Pramac Racing entries in the top three with a 1:29.866s set on a medium rear tyre, rather than a soft.
Ducatis locked out the top six at one point, before Quartararo set a 1:29.877 good enough for fourth.
Fifth went to Bagnaia, from Mooney VR46 team-mates Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi, with Gresini Racing’s Enea Bastianini taking eighth.
Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) rounded out the top 10 but Espargaro is only 11th, a concern for the title contender considering the possibility of rain on Saturday morning which would have the effect of locking him into Qualifying 1.
Espargaro and Bagnaia were among those to run wide at the new chicane during FP2, while Tech3 KTM’s Raul Fernandez crashed there, Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira went down between Turns 9 and 10, and Viñales had an excursion at Turn 4.
Best Honda rider was Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR) in 12th and best Suzuki rider was Alex Rins in 13th, while Tech3 KTM’s Remy Gardner ended up 23rd, two positions ahead of team-mate Fernandez.
Saturday’s schedule is Free Practice 3 at 17:55 AEST, Free Practice 4 at 21:30, Qualifying 1 at 22:10, and Qualifying 2 at 22:35.
Friday practice: Austrian MotoGP Combined times
|1||5||J.ZARCO||FRA||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||1:29.837||FP2|
|2||43||J.MILLER||AUS||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||1:29.861||FP2|
|3||89||J.MARTIN||ESP||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||1:29.866||FP2|
|4||20||F.QUARTARARO||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1:29.877||FP2|
|5||63||F.BAGNAIA||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||1:29.997||FP2|
|6||10||L.MARINI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||1:30.030||FP2|
|7||72||M.BEZZECCHI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||1:30.066||FP2|
|8||23||E.BASTIANINI||ITA||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||1:30.066||FP2|
|10||33||B.BINDER||RSA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:30.128||FP2|
|12||30||T.NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||1:30.311||FP2|
|13||42||A.RINS||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1:30.321||FP2|
|14||44||P.ESPARGARO||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1:30.364||FP2|
|15||36||J.MIR||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1:30.455||FP2|
|16||73||A.MARQUEZ||ESP||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||1:30.509||FP2|
|17||21||F.MORBIDELLI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1:30.617||FP2|
|18||04||A.DOVIZIOSO||ITA||WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team||Yamaha||1:30.639||FP2|
|19||49||F.DI GIANNANTO||ITA||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||1:30.700||FP2|
|21||6||S.BRADL||GER||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1:31.182||FP2|
|22||88||M.OLIVEIRA||POR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:31.315||FP2|
|23||87||R.GARDNER||AUS||Tech3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:31.324||FP2|
|24||40||D.BINDER||RSA||WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team||Yamaha||1:31.575||FP2|
|25||25||R.FERNANDEZ||ESP||Tech3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:31.978||FP2|