Ducati picked up from where it left off following last weekend’s Austrian MotoGP at the Red Bull Ring as Jack Miller and Andrea Dovizioso locked out the top two positions in first free practice for the Styrian MotoGP.

The second of back-to-back events to be held at the Spielberg circuit, Miller sprung to the front in the closing stages as a handful of riders unseated long-time timesheet topper Takaaki Nakagami in the final minutes.

There was precious little to choose between the pair though with Miller 0.004s quicker than Ducati stablemate Dovizioso to nose his satellite Pramac Racing machine ahead.

 

 

Miguel Oliveira briefly led the way in the final stages before being bumped down but nonetheless got his weekend off to a positive start with the third quickest time on the Tech 3 KTM, ahead of Nakagami as the only Honda rider to crack the top ten.

Fresh from his maiden podium last weekend, Joan Mir hit the ground running again with the fifth best time on the Suzuki, ahead of Franco Morbidelli, the Italian impressing to get towards the sharp end in his first outing since ‘that’ huge shunt on the run to Turn 3 during the Austrian MotoGP five days ago.

Brno winner Brad Binder headed up fellow KTM rider Iker Lecuona to give the homegrown team a welcome early boost in seventh and eighth positions, ahead of Maverick Vinales and championship leader Fabio Quartararo, the latter running off track at Turn 6 midway through the session, prompting an animated reaction from the Frenchman.

Pol Espargaro fell just short of ensuring all four KTMs inside the top ten in 11th, ahead of Michele Pirro – standing in for Pecco Bagnaia again at Pramac Ducati – and Danilo Petrucci, with Bradley Smith the best of the Aprilia contingent in 14th.

Elsewhere, Valentino Rossi was a modest 17th best with Cal Crutchlow just behind in 18th. However, with only a single second covering the top down to last place Stefan Bradl in 21st, the margin for error is remarkably slim.

Zarco did not take part in the session following surgery on his scaphoid on Wednesday. He will attempt to return to action on Saturday morning for FP3

 

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