Espargaró leads Friday running in Australia
20 October 2017 – Aprilia's Aleix Espargaró set the pace during Friday practice for the Australian Grand Prix, narrowly edging reigning World Champion Marc Márquez at Phillip Island.
Espargaró cocked a lap of 1:29.225 in sunny but cool conditions in second practice to wind up just 0.005s faster than Márquez, who led the way in the first session, albeit at a slower pace.
Márquez's primary title rival, Andrea Dovizioso, was third quickest, finishing just 0.097s behind Espargaró, in a competitive session at the venue.
LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow, victor at Phillip Island 12 months ago, placed fourth, with Yamaha's Maverick Viñales fifth, via a fast crash through Turn 8.
Viñales lost the front end of his YZR-M1 at the right-hand bend but was able to walk away uninjured.
Marc VDS rider Jack Miller was competitive throughout on home soil and classified sixth, upon his return from a one-event layoff due to a fractured leg.
Andrea Iannone put in another encouraging display for Suzuki as he set the seventh-best time, ahead of Tech 3's Johann Zarco and Márquez's Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
KTM built on its recent improvements once more as Pol Espargaró completed the top 10, meaning both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will have to find pace in FP3 to avoid competing in Q1.
21 of the 23 riders finished within 1.6s of pace-setter Espargaró, as only Álvaro Bautista – who crashed twice – and Tech 3 stand-in Broc Parkes lagged behind the pack.
Saturday's third practice session at Phillip Island will begin at 10:55 local time