2020 Austrian MotoGP - Free Practice Results (1)

Pol Espagraro got KTM’s home Austrian MotoGP off to a strong start as he dominated first free practice at the Red Bull Ring to keep the manufacturer on top five days after its maiden victory in Brno.

While Binder made all the headlines in the Czech Republic, his more experiences team-mate Espargaro has been tipped as a potential contender for victory around a circuit both he and the invigorated KTM know better than any other.

On top for almost the entirety of the session, Andrea Dovizoso got close towards the end as the Italian showed far more encouraging early weekend form for Ducati in an event seen as crucial if it hopes to be in with a shout of the 2020 MotoGP title.

Make Or Break For Ducati in MotoGP 2020 | Austrian MotoGP Preview | Crash.net

Joan Mir hauled his Suzuki up into third position, ahead of Takaaki Nakagami, the LCR rider the only Honda representative in the upper echelons with his team-mate Cal Crutchlow well down in 15th position, while factory riders Alex Marquez and Stefan Bradl could only manage 19th and 21st.

Alex Rins consolidated Suzuki solid opening in fifth place, ahead of top Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli, who flew the M1 flag on a morning the manufacturer generally appeared more ‘at sea’ than of late.

With much cooler conditions than Spain or Czech Republic, both Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales took trips off track on more than one occasion, the leading pair in the overall standings ending up 10th and 11th respectively, behind Miguel Oliveira and Jack Miller.

With rain forecast for the afternoon – potentially during FP2 – and more due tomorrow when FP3 is scheduled, FP1 could take on greater significance than usual.

As such, those currently outside the top ten will be hoping the weather holds out, including Danilo Petrucci in 12th and Valentino Rossi in 13th.

As will Brno winner Binder, who returned to his KTM RC16 to go 16th quickest, just ahead of Michele Pirro, who returns to MotoGP action this weekend replacing the injured Pecco Bagnaia on the Pramac Ducati.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith was the only faller of the session, the British rider coming down in the closing stages with a slow but thudding impact off his Aprilia at Turn 4.