Broc Parkes admits he is on a steep learning curve with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha as he got to grips with the M1 during free practice at Phillip Island on Friday.

The Australian rider was granted the chance to ride for the team at his home race as a replacement for Jonas Folger, who misses out through illness for the second race in a row after he was also unable to compete at Motegi.

Parkes improved his lap time by one second from FP1 to FP2 as he finished the day at the bottom of the time sheets, 2.9 seconds down on pacesetter Aleix Espargaro and four tenths behind Aspar Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista, who was one place ahead of him in 22nd position.

“I felt really good at the start of this session and I had to adapt to this bike and it’s quite a lot different than I expected – I rode it a few years ago but around here, even though I know the track, it’s fast and it’s not that easy,” he said.

“I had that little crash otherwise I think we could have made a lot better step because we still didn’t try the softer tyre. At the end I hopped on the second bike, which I hadn’t ridden yet, and it was a little bit different but I need to make another second tomorrow.”

Explaining his tip-off in FP2, Parkes said he went down as he began to push the front end of the Yamaha to get a feel for the limit of the grip.

“I was pushing the front a little bit more on each lap with a little bit more angle to see where the limit is – I just gave it a little bit more angle and it just went quickly. It’s a strange crash because I never crashed in that corner, but the guys told me that it’s quite normal and they’ve seen it before.”

Parkes, who rides for the Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) in the World Endurance Championship, said the biggest challenge on Friday was adapting to the Michelin tyres.

“It’s the tyres, the picking up of the bike to get on the fat part of the tyre, which is a lot more than I knew from the past, so this is a lot different to the R1 that I am riding at the moment and this is the biggest surprise,” he said.

“To be honest I’m not pushing the bike enough at the moment to be able to comment on the tyres – I’m too far away and I need to be at least another one and a half or two seconds faster to be in the range.

“The bike is awesome, it’s just getting used to the electronics and the character of the bike – around here especially because it is just so fast. It’s a little bit scary when you’re not comfortable on the bike so I need to be more comfortable and attack. At the moment the bike is riding around with me on it and I need to ride the bike.”

Parkes said he requested the chance to ride the Yamaha at Phillip Island but is uncertain whether or not the opportunity will arise to compete at Sepang in Malaysia.

“I asked for it and I always do every year, so because I had experience of the bike and the tyres and I did testing with Michelin before they came to MotoGP, and it’s my home race and Grand Prix, they gave me the chance. I want to do better than today, that’s for sure,” he said.

“I haven’t spoken about that [Sepang] and for me I was happy just to do this race. I want to try and do a good job because it’s not easy for someone just to come in and jump on the bike. I’m sure the mechanics don’t want to have a different rider on the bike at each race so if it happens, I’m free.”


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