Prima Pramac’s Johann Zarco held court at the Red Bull Ring on Friday afternoon as Ducati dominated MotoGP FP2.
Seven of the ten fastest riders were on Bologna machinery as second practice for the Austrian GP came to a conclusion. Zarco heading Ducati Lenovo’s Jack Miller by a mere 0.024s margin with teammate Jorge Martin a further five-thousandths back in third.
Silverstone victor Pecco Bagnaia took charge as FP2 fired up with a 1’30.591, two seconds faster than his morning best on only his fourth lap of the afternoon, until Suzuki’s Alex Rins arrived three-tenths quicker. Quartararo slotted in 0.005s behind the GSX-RR with Zarco claiming fourth from Luca Marini on the Mooney VR46 to complete a Ducati trio at the edge of the top five.
Gresini’s Enea Bastianini joined the Bologna party in fifth next time around with KTM’s Brad Binder, Miller and the two LCR Honda’s of Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami completing the top ten as Fabio Di Giannantonio continued to impress on the second Gresini GP, 0.004s adrift.
Monster Energy Yamaha’s Franky Morbidelli looked to find his groove as he claimed seventh with half an hour to go before the time was deleted due to track limits. His next attempt placing him firmly in the top five just three-tenths off his teammate at the top of the times.
Maverick Viñales was the next to rise as the Aprilia rider advanced to sixth. Zarco, Marini, Miller - thanks to his morning effort - and Binder now on the edge of the top ten before Marco Bezzecchi climbed to fifth and the South African dropped out.
The Suzukis sat second and third at the halfway stage as Joan Mir joined Rins on low 1’30 pace. Miller joining his own teammate shortly after as the factory Ducatis claimed fourth and fifth with Bastianini and Bezzecchi narrowly behind. Morbidelli fended off an Aprilia/Pramac attack from eighth as Viñales, Zarco, Aleix Espargaro and Jorge Martin fought on the fringes of the promotion zone with less than half a second covering the pack in contention for Q2.
The Australian’s improvement continued in the closing stages as Miller split the Suzukis to sit third with a 1’30.443. The pack heading back into the pits as the rain began to fall with ten minutes remaining.
Miguel Oliveira crashed out at turn nine as Ducati locked out the standings thanks to Zarco, Miller and Martin. The trio all on sub 1’30 pace as Bastianini joined them in second and Bagnaia and Bezzecchi took fifth and sixth - the VR46 rookie holding off a pair of Aprilias thanks to a 1’30.166 lap as Quartararo and Rins completed the top ten. Bastianini was later denied as his lap was deleted, Marini the lucky recipient of the final early Q2 position. The Italian consolidating his promotion chances with a P5 effort to better his teammate by just 0.036s as the reigning champion pushed the Yamaha M1 to fourth.
A late effort from Mir looked to deny Espargaro before the lap was removed. Bastianini the next to drop the RS-GP out of the provisional promotion places on his way to eighth with the 32-year-old unable to fight back as the flag came out. Binder held tenth as the clock hit zero, less than three-tenths shy of the outright target, with Nakagami falling just a tenth short on his final lap.