The second round in Austria started with enough headlines to fill a news ticker but track action eventually took centre stage as premier class riders put in a first time attack of the weekend. With the forecast more optimistic than last time around, not too many were tempted by soft rubber in the closing stages of FP1 but Pramac Racing continued to shine, with Johann Zarco taking the all time lap record from his teammate and topping the session by almost eight tenths of a second. That late lap pushed the two Suzukis back, with Joan Mir second and Alex Rins third in the session.
Takaaki Nakagami led the way for most of the session before dropping to fourth, as the only other rider to post a time within a second of the leader. Aleix Espargaro completed the top five ahead of Fabio Quartararo, although the Frenchman ended the session by pulling over at turn 9 with some sort of seemingly minor technical issue. Alex Marquez continues a solid run in Spielberg with seventh position in FP1, marginally quicker than Pecco Bagnaia, who was stuck in a familiar flashback from last weekend, in between the Marquez brothers. Although Marc Marquez’s shoulder seemed to be giving him some grief, the Spaniard’s lap times were pretty consistent and he ended the morning ninth, with Styrian GP victor Jorge Martin rounding out the top 10.
Teammate Pol Espargaro missed out by five hundredths of a second and was closely followed by rookie teammates Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini. The KTMs didn’t make the best of starts, Miguel Oliveira best of the lot in 15th position, while Jack Miller in 17th place didn’t heavily feature the factory Ducatis in the proceedings either. By now you would have heard about Maverick Viñales not featuring in proceedings at all, after his suspension by Yamaha for last Sunday’s confusing shenanigans. The other notable absence was Lorenzo Savadori, the Aprilia rider unable to take part as he recovers from recent surgery to his right ankle following the fiery incident on Sunday.