After the downpour of Motegi, the weather in Australia decided to help the riders acclimatise with some more drops of rain in the days leading up to practice. The rainfall stopped just in time for FP1 but the session started with damp patches still scattered on the circuit. The situation was quite quickly resolved by the strong winds, which were also somewhat unhelpful for the lightweight class.
Joan Mir would not let history repeat itself after the strange performance in Japan, the world championship leader featuring heavily at the top of the standings right out the box this time around. The Spaniard led for most of the session, until Nicolo Bulega eyed up a slipstream in the last handful of minutes and dragged Ayumu Sasaki with him over the line. The Italian didn’t get another chance to further improve his performance after an eager move into turn four slid him out of contention and took Aron Canet with him. Mir only just avoided the incident but could not improve himself so Bulega kept top honours at the flag.
Enea Bastianini also showed good pace throughout the session to finish second and sneaking between Bulega and Sasaki, the trio covered by less than a tenth of a second. Mir finished little over a tenth behind Bulega in fourth position.
Bo Bendsneyder and Niccolo Antonelli continued their good run in the flyaways with a fifth and sixth spot, closely followed by Jorge Martin in seventh. The top ten was completed by Marco Bezzecchi, Andrea Migno and Juanfran Guevara, the trio unable to drop into the 1:38s, like the group ahead of them. After his late tangle with Bulega, Canet dropped back to fourteenth position.
A slow morning for last week’s victor causing him to linger outside the top ten turned into even more of a headache after Romano Fenati suffered a high side in the final ten minutes. That saw him pushed back all the way to twenty-fifth position but in elite company between Fabio di Giannantonio and John McPhee.
|19||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Mahindra||1'39.929||1.347||0.003|
|24||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||1'40.380||1.798||0.210|