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Austrian MotoGP, Free Practice | Zarco heads up Quartararo in Spielberg FP opener

Gold and Goose

Johann Zarco brushed off speculation about his future in the paddock this weekend by turning in the fastest time in free practice for the Austrian MotoGP at Spielberg.

The Frenchman turned up the pace in the closing stages of the 45mins - which will have no bearing on Saturday morning's two qualifying sessions - to dislodge long-time pace setter Fabio Quartararo.

It comes on a weekend where Zarco has been centre of attention amid talk he is deep in negotiations to defect to LCR Honda for the 2024 MotoGP season, even if the chatter didn't seem to distract him out on track.


On a circuit that hasn't traditionally favoured the Yamaha package, the 2021 MotoGP World Champion was quickly up to speed to set the benchmark for stretches, but his peak of 1m 30.237s was no match for Zarco's table topping 1m 29.838secs effort.

>>> 2023 MotoGP World Championship standings <<<

Returning to the venue where his relationship with Yamaha famously came to a dramatic conclusion two years ago, Maverick Vinales enjoyed a strong start to the weekend with the third fastest time on the Aprilia RS-GP, heading off Alex Marquez and Marco Bezzecchi - despite off-track moment for each - on their respective Gresini and VR46 Ducatis.

With six of Ducati's eight-strong line-up cracking the top ten, Fabio di Giannantonio filled out the top six on the second of the Gresini bikes, ahead of top Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami, championship leader Pecco Bagnaia, British MotoGP winner Aleix Espargaro and Jorge Martin, the latter rounding out the top ten.

Elsewhere Marc Marquez suffered a spill on the Repsol Honda as he laboured to 18th on the timesheets.

Austrian MotoGP, Spielberg | Free Practice Results

Friday | Conditions - Dry, Sunny
2023 Austrian MotoGP | Spielberg, Austria | Free Practice Results | Round 10 of 20
RiderNationTeamMotorcycleLap Time
1Johann Zarco🇨🇵Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 29.838
2Fabio Quartararo🇨🇵Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 30.237
3Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 30.249
4Alex Marquez🇪🇦Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 30.286
5Marco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 30.305
6Fabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 30.307
7Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V1m 30.338
8Pecco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Leonovo TeamDucati GP231m 30.367
9Aleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 30.376
10Jorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 30.429
11Enea Bastianini🇮🇹Ducati Leonovo TeamDucati GP231m 30.459
12Joan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 30.460
13Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 30.642
14Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 30.746
15Luca Marini🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 30.778
16Pol Espargaro🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 30.797
17Miguel Oliveira🇵🇹CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 30.821
19Augusto Fernandez🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 30.856
20Raul Fernandez🇪🇦CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 31.020
21Lorenzo Savadori🇮🇹Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 31.232
22Jack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 31.283
22Marc Marquez🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 31.366
23Iker Lecuona🇪🇦LCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V1m 31.885

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