If the rain made life difficult for the MotoGP riders at Phillip Island this morning, it completely ruined their afternoon as the second free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled after fifteen minutes due to the track conditions. With some riders having only five laps under their belt today, tomorrow promises to be a key day as they look to perfect their bike set-up for Sunday’s race.
Three independent team riders took the top three positions, with Cal Crutchlow (1’40.957) the only rider capable of breaking the 1’41 barrier ahead of Danilo Petrucci and local rider Jack Miller. Marc Márquez made his first appearance as the new World Champion with the fourth fastest lap of the day, with Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi down in 19th and 20th place – in Rossi’s case due partly to a penalty for completing more than the permitted laps on the super-soft front tyre.
Yonny Hernández finished the day just 0.062 seconds outside the positions that would give him access to Q2 tomorrow. The Pull&Bear Aspar rider was eleventh fastest in the opening session of the weekend after completing just eight laps due to the weather. The Colombian was frustrated by the lack of track time today but he is hoping for better weather tomorrow as he targets a position in the top ten. Eugene Laverty finished the day in sixteenth position, some 3.2 seconds off the top. The Irishman has shown good speed in wet conditions this season, most notably at Brno and Silverstone, although the lack of any dry track time at all today has denied him the crucial opportunity to find a base set-up for this track.
11th Yonny Hernández 1.43.132 (8 laps): “My feeling on the bike is good and I finished less than a tenth off the positions that would give me direct access to Q2 tomorrow, although we still have room for improvement. It is a shame that we weren’t able to make full use of each session today because of the track conditions and the bad weather. It looks like tomorrow will be better so hopefully we can ride and challenge for a place in Q2.”
16th Eugene Laverty 1.44.181 (7 laps): “It has been a tough start to the weekend. Usually when it rains we are strong, like at Silverstone or Brno, but on both of those weekends we had a dry session first to find a setting for the electronics. This time we haven’t had that so we are a little behind in that area. It was difficult to set a fast lap but at least we were able to gather some data.”