Andrea Dovizioso tops FP1, Rossi suffers technical issue
Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso topped a frantic MotoGP FP1 for the Austrian Grand Prix, while Valentino Rossi suffered a technical issue with his Yamaha.
With forecasts threatening rain for this afternoon's FP2 and possibly for Saturday morning, a flurry of fast laps came in at the start of FP1 as the field made their bids for a place inside the Q2 places.
Championship leader Marc Marquez set the early pace aboard his Honda with a 1:27.917s, though Pramac's Danilo Petrucci quickly usurped him with a 1:25.823s.
Petrucci knocked more time off of his benchmark with a 1:25.400s, before Ducati stablemate Jorge Lorenzo edged ahead by two tenths, further improving into the first 1:24s lap of the day with a 1:24.838s.
Brno race winner and last year's Red Bull Ring victor Dovizioso took over from his teammate at the top of the timesheets with a 1:24.799s with 35 minutes of the session still remaining.
Marquez twisted the knife to go almost four tenths clear of the field, but Dovizioso demoted the Spaniard as the session entered its final quarter with a 1:24.295s.
The factory Ducati duo traded top spot in the closing seconds, with Lorenzo pipping a 1:24.098s from Dovizioso with a 1:24.045s.
Dovizioso lit up the timing screens on his final lap, and went over two tenths clear of the field with a 1:23.830s. Lorenzo and Petrucci completed an all-Ducati top three in FP1.
Marquez was fourth fastest, a tenths outside of Petrucci's effort, while Suzuki's Andrea Iannone headed Honda duo Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow in sixth.
An early technical problem for Rossi on the pit straight left him with just one M1 to complete the session. Moving into the top 10 late on, improvements for Tito Rabat, Johann Zarco and struggling Yamaha stablemate Maverick Vinales saw the Italian pushed into a provisional Q1 spot in 11th.
Still recovering from a broken collarbone and inflamed spinal chord sustained in a crash at Brno, Pol Espargaro has been sidelined for the Austrian Grand Prix, leaving teammate Bradley Smith as KTM's sole representative at its home round.
The British rider came close to breaking into the top 10 at one stage, but ended the session 15th with a 1:24.973s, sandwiched between Suzuki's Alex Rins and LCR's Takaaki Nakagami.
Austria - Practice 1
|1||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||1:23.830|
|2||Jorge Lorenzo||Ducati Team||1:24.045||0.215|
|3||Danilo Petrucci||Pramac Racing||1:24.320||0.490|
|4||Marc Marquez||Honda Team||1:24.411||0.581|
|5||Andrea Iannone||Suzuki Ecstar||1:24.436||0.606|
|6||Dani Pedrosa||Honda Team||1:24.474||0.644|
|7||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||1:24.491||0.661|
|8||Tito Rabat||Avintia Racing||1:24.676||0.846|
|9||Johann Zarco||Yamaha Tech 3||1:24.797||0.967|
|10||Maverick Vinales||Yamaha MotoGP||1:24.835||1.005|
|11||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha MotoGP||1:24.884||1.054|
|12||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia Racing||1:24.904||1.074|
|13||Alvaro Bautista||Angel Nieto Team||1:24.938||1.108|
|14||Alex Rins||Suzuki Ecstar||1:24.939||1.109|
|15||Bradley Smith||KTM Racing||1:24.973||1.143|
|16||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||1:25.011||1.181|
|17||Franco Morbidelli||Marc VDS||1:25.107||1.277|
|18||Jack Miller||Pramac Racing||1:25.184||1.354|
|19||Scott Redding||Aprilia Racing||1:25.354||1.524|
|20||Karel Abraham||Angel Nieto Team||1:25.541||1.711|
|21||Hafizh Syahrin||Yamaha Tech 3||1:25.595||1.765|
|22||Xavier Simeon||Avintia Racing||1:25.752||1.922|
|23||Thomas Luthi||Marc VDS||1:25.979||2.149|