Ducati’s MotoGP pairing of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone have, as expected, opened a gap on the opposition in a warmer second free practice session at Austria’s Red Bull Ring and now enjoy an eight-tenth advantage over Maverick Vinales.
Iannone was the first rider to break the 1’24s barrier with a 1’23.855 with his penultimate flying lap but put in a 1’23.994 on his next circuit. Iannone’s best was usurped by his team-mate a lap later as he set a 1’23.617 to head Ecstar Suzuki’s Vinales in third place by 0.854s. In the process, Dovizioso set the fastest ever lap in MotoGP with an average speed of of 115.6mph, beating the previous best of 113.2mph at Phillip Island and Shane Byrne’s 114mph lap of Thruxton set a couple of weeks ago.
Valentino Rossi’s pre-event prediction that the Ducatis would be a long way in front is beginning to come true but the The Doctor managed to keep them in sight, setting a 1’24.483 to sneak ahead of Britain’s Cal Crutchlow.
The LCR man is easily the quickest of the Hondas, sticking in a 1’24.668 to be a second off the pace but it is disaster for the Repsol-backed factory men. Championship leader Marc Marquez is down in tenth and in the bubble of a qualifying one slot while Dani Pedrosa, who crashed this morning, is in 19th and 2.513s off the pace.
It is not quite so disastrous for Jorge Lorenzo but the reigning champion is still struggling. The Movistar Yamaha man is down in eighth and 1.371s slower than Dovizioso. He has the Ducati GP15 of Danilo Petrucci and the even older Avintia Ducati of Hector Barbera in front of him.
Yonny Hernandez is still circulating at a pace good enough to sneak into qualifying two on his Pull and Bear Ducati, just edging out Scott Redding for 11th place. Pol Espargaro is 13th with the two Estrella Galicia Hondas completing the top 15.
Aleix Espargaro had an early crash at turn eight where Eugene Laverty went down this morning. The Irishman improved his time by a massive margin this morning and then had a word with Iannone in the practice start area.
Top ten speeds:
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 311.7
26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 309.1
29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 308.3
51 Michele PIRRO ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 307.8
8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Racing DUCATI 307.3
25 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR SUZUKI 306.9
44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 306.7
45 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Yakhnich DUCATI 306.2
99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA 306.0
19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA 305.5