Suzuki’s Iannone Tops Friday Practice (Phillip Island MotoGP)

Suzuki's Andrea Iannone
Suzuki's Andrea Iannone (photo by Luciano Bianchetto)

2018 Phillip Island MotoGP Practice Results, Friday

The second of three-back-to-back MotoGP rounds got underway Friday with the first free practice sessions of the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island.

When the second 45-minute free practice sessions ended, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone would take the top time by a mere 0.160 of a second ahead of Alma Pramac Racing Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci and 0.223 of a second ahead of the free practice one leader Maverick Vinales on the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1.

Suzuki's Iannone Tops Friday Practice (Phillip Island MotoGP)
Petrucci, Iannone and Vinales fight for P1 during Friday free practice at Phillip Island MotoGP

Rain was a threat during the opening 45-minute free practice, but the track conditions weren’t the best due to rain in the morning.

This caused for a few major crashes throughout the day, including one that slowed newly-crowned 2018 MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez at the fast Turn 10 in the morning, and one that sidelined LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow from Sunday’s race.

Marquez was able to rejoin the grid, but Crutchlow fractured his ankle during a second-free practice crash, which will result in a DNS for round 17 of 19 in 2018 MotoGP. Crutchlow, who was fifth fastest before crashing, will undergo surgery on a broken right ankle and tibia in the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

Finishing fourth Friday was Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who was followed by Crutchlow and Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco.

Suzuki's Andrea Iannone
Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone (photo by Luciano Bianchetto)

After his crash, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez could only claim a best of seventh ahead of Alma Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller; Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins; and 7-time MotoGP Champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), who also crashed at turn 10 but walked away unharmed.

Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Hafizh Syahrin claimed the top rookie time in position 11, the Malaysian rider finishing ahead of Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), who has signed on as the official KTM test rider for 2019 and 2020.

With Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo sidelined due to injury, Alvaro Bautista rode the other factory Ducati GP18. He finished 15th Friday, 1.6 seconds off the pace.

The riders will return to Phillip Island Saturday for two more free practices ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s 27-lap Grand Prix. Heading into the Australian GP, Rossi has the most wins there with six, followed by Marquez with 2.

2018 Phillip Island MotoGP Free Practice Results, Friday

1Andrea Iannone01’29.131
2Danilo Petrucci01’29.291
3Maverick Viñales01’29.354
4Andrea Dovizioso01’29.406
5Cal Crutchlow01’29.616
6Johann Zarco01’29.686
7Marc Marquez01’29.739
8Jack Miller01’29.838
9Alex Rins01’29.918
10Valentino Rossi01’30.133
11Hafizh Syahrin01’30.179
12Bradley Smith01’30.346
13Daniel Pedrosa01’30.472
14Pol Espargaro01’30.545
15Alvaro Bautista01’30.734