Zarco fastest in FP1 as wallaby crosses circuit at Phillip Island

Johann Zarco. Picture: Australian MotoGP Twitter

Johann Zarco has paced the opening MotoGP practice session at the Australian Grand Prix which featured a wildlife encounter.

This weekend’s round marks the first time MotoGP has visited the country since 2019.

Early in the 45-minute session, a wallaby bounced across the Phillip Island circuit on the run between Honda Corner and Siberia.

The wallaby managed to get out of the way before Pol Espargaro arrived on the scene, merely causing a brief localised yellow flag.

The wallaby crosses the track. Picture: Fox Sports

Lap times were slow in the early stages of the session, due in part to the cold conditions and strong winds.

Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo set an early benchmark of 1:31.362s.

As the circuit rubbered in, that was lowered by Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez to a 1:31.258s.

The Spaniard then went quicker on the following lap with a 1:30.897s thanks to a slipstream from younger sibling Alex Marquez.

In the closing five minutes, Jack Miller was on a flyer and indeed did set the fastest time of the session with a 1:30.561s.

Pramac Racing’s Zarco slotted into second but that became third when Alex Rins crossed the line a few seconds later on his Suzuki.

Miller moved the goal post a further tenth of a second just prior to the chequered flag, setting a 1:30.459s.

The Australian appeared to be on an even quicker lap the next time around, but encountered traffic in the form of Darryn Binder.

As the chequered flag waved, Zarco laid down his 1:30.368s to top the time sheets in Practice 1.

That put the Frenchman ahead of Miller, while Alex Marquez vaulted to third right at the end.

Rins, Aleix Espargaro, Enea Bastianini, Marc Marquez, Francesco Bagnaia, and Fabio Di Giannantonio rounded out the top 10.

Australian KTM rider Remy Gardner finished the session 20th.

Practice 2 for MotoGP at Phillip Island begins at 14:10 local time/AEDT.

UPDATE: Aleix Espargaro also had a close encounter with, presumably, the same wallaby through the Hayshed.

Espargaro’s wildlife encounter. Picture: Fox Sports

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