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Australian MotoGP, Practice | Binder heads up KTM 1-2, Bagnaia misses Q2 cut again

Gold & Goose
Brad Binder, KTM Factory Racing, KTM RC16, 2023 MotoGP, Australian MotoGP, Phillip Island, action [Gold & Goose]

Brad Binder denied local hero Jack Miller the top spot on the first day of action to lead a KTM 1-2 in Friday Practice for the Australian MotoGP, while Pecco Bagnaia finds himself on the back foot again after missing the Q2 cut.

With conditions improving markedly over the course of the day, the best of the lap times would come in the closing moments as Binder and Miller tussled over the top spot on their factory KTM RC16s.

It was the South African that would shake out on top, however, his benchmark of 1m 27.943secs proving the only lap to dip below 1m 28secs, just under a tenth quicker than his Australian team-mate.

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Maverick Vinales chased the KTM duty on the best of the Aprilia contingent in third place, ahead of Jorge Martin, who put the disappointment of his crash from the lead of the Indonesian MotoGP less than a week ago to stamp his authority on his title fight with Pecco Bagnaia in Australia.

Indeed, Bagnaia - who briefly lost the championship lead to Martin during the Mandalika round before reclaiming it with victory in Sunday’s full-length race - is faced with another tall task at Phillip Island after failing to secure a direct passage into Q2.

The factory rider, who holds an 18-point lead over Martin coming into the weekend, fell just short of the cut for a second weekend in succession in 11th.

With the European manufacturers dominating over their Japanese counterparts once again, Pol Espargaro consolidated KTM’s positive day by placing his GasGas Tech3 bike into fifth place, ahead of outside title contender Marco Bezzecchi in sixth.

Fresh from his career-best fourth place finish in Indonesia, Fabio di Giannantonio was again among the fastest of the Ducati contingent in seventh, ahead of stablemate Enea Bastianini, while Aleix Espargaro and Johann Zarco are also straight into Q2 with the ninth and tenth best laps.

Behind Bagnaia, Alex Rins enjoyed a step forward to finish as the quickest of the Honda riders in 12th, ahead of Augusto Fernandez, who ended the day 13th having been up in second place after Free Practice 1.

Elsewhere, Alex Marquez returned to action on the Gresini Ducati after sitting out the Indonesian MotoGP, the Spaniard just ahead of brother and future team-mate Marc Marquez in 15th and 16th respectively.

Meanwhile, organisers have confirmed this weekend’s full-length Australian MotoGP will take place on Saturday, swapping its position in the schedule with the Sprint Race, in an effort to mitigate the threat of poor weather on Sunday.

2023 Australian MotoGP | Phillip island Circuit | Practice Results | Round 16 of 20
Pos.NameNat.TeamBikeLap Time
1Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 27.943
2Jack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 28.091
3Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 28.212
4Jorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 28.222
5Pol Espargaro🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 28.363
6Marco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 28.368
7Fabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 28.452
8Enea Bastianini🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 28.453
9Aleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 28.456
10Johann Zarco🇨🇵Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 28.456
11Pecco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 28.642
12Alex Rins🇪🇦LCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V1m 28.644
13Augusto Fernandez🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 28.656
14Raul Fernandez🇪🇦CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 28.659
15Alex Marquez🇪🇦Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 28.661
16Marc Marquez🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 28.790
17Fabio Quartararo🇨🇵Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 28.937
18Joan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 29.007
19Luca Marini🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 29.164
20Miguel Oliveira🇵🇹CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 29.711
21Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V1m 29.750
22Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 29.908

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