MarcVDS rider Esteve Rabat took a further step towards his first Moto2 title at the Phillip Island round, finishing free practice more than half a second faster than Sandro Cortese while team-mate and closest rival Mika Kallio crashed twice.
Rabat ended the day on a 1’33.057 compared to Cortese’s 1'33.655 while Kallio could only muster a 1’33.759, set in the opening session before a first crash at turn nine saw him run straight into the tyres and somersault into the air. His second incident, while nursing a bruised ankle, saw him pitched over the highside on the exit of MG.
“We made a really good job today, but we won’t be resting on our laurels, because we were fast on both practice days in Japan and then lost out in the race. So, while everything is working well at the moment, we need to carry on working to find improvements ready for the race on Sunday,” said Rabat.
“There were a lot of crashes today and when you see people crash in front of you then you always close a little. The track conditions are different to when we were here for the winter test and we need to take that into account when we set up the bike for tomorrow. So, a good first day, but we still have work to do.”
Britain’s Sam Lowes took his Speed UP to ninth place overall while Londoner Gino Rea ended in 26th and 1.6s off the pace.