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MotoGP Austria: Ducati’s Barbera tops opening practice

Avintia Ducati’s Hector Barbera, who is riding for his MotoGP future, topped the opening practice session at the Red Bull Ring this morning after Andrea Dovizioso’s last lap was cancelled as he ran off the track at turn nine.

Dovizioso rolled out using Ducati’s new aero package with 20 minutes of the session left and immediately found the benefits, finally setting a 1’24.502 on the soft rear but race direction adjudged he had put both wheels over the white line but his next best of 1’24.719 was enough to take second.

Barbera, also on the soft rear, managed a 1’24.631 on his 22nd lap of 23 which was enough to also keep Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa at bay. The tiny Spaniard set a 1’24.744 for third, using a medium/soft combination on his RC213V.


Maverick Vinales was fourth on a 1’24.752, also on a medium/soft, and deployed using the aero package Yamaha first wheeled out at Qatar and not the one tested in Brno. Championship leader Marc Marquez set a 1’24.881 on his 15th lap of 21 using a medium rear but the HRC man couldn’t find any additional pace with the soft rear.

Johann Zarco adopted soft Michelins all round to set a 1’24.985 for sixth place while Danilo Petrucci, who used the full Ducati aero package for the first time, ended in seventh place, one in front of Scott Redding - a man riding relieved as he has secured a ride with Aprilia for 2018 at the expense of Sam Lowes.

Jorge Lorenzo made it five Ducatis in the top ten with his 1’25.038 while Cal Crutchlow will take the final automatic Q2 place should it rain as forecast this afternoon and tomorrow morning.

Pol Espargaro is continuing the form he showed at Brno in front of KTM’s home fans to finish in 11th and one place ahead of Valentino Rossi. The Doctor also used the mark one aero package and Ohlins carbon forks but even a soft rear tyre couldn’t help him higher than 12th place.

Jonas Folger, Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaro completed the top 15 with Lowes in 19th and Bradley Smith 21st.

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