Martin fastest, Marquez crashes in FP1

Martin, who comes to Australia 18 points adrift of title rival Francesco Bagnaia after his crash in Indonesia last weekend, set the pace in Friday morning’s opening 45-minute session with a best time of 1m29.039s.

The Spanish rider commanded the timesheets for almost the entire session, becoming the first man to break the 90-second barrier with a 1m29.882s that remained unbeaten until the final few minutes.

Aprilia man Maverick Vinales, second to Bagnaia in Indonesia, briefly surpassed Martin’s benchmark with a 1m29.777s with three minutes left on the clock.

But Martin responded almost immediately by lowering his best to a 1m29.266s before posting a 1m29.039s to lead the field by a staggering seven tenths of a second.

Vinales was demoted to third in the closing stages by Tech3 Gas Gas rookie Augusto Fernandez, who set a 1m29.759s at the very end of the session to beat Vinales by just 0.018s.

Brad Binder was fourth-fastest aboard his KTM on a 1m30.285s, while Martin’s Pramac team-mate Johann Zarco was fifth with his best effort of 1m30.311s.

Two more satellite Ducati riders, Marco Bezzecchi (VR46) and Alex Marquez (Gresini), set identical times of 1m30.434s to end up sixth and seventh, with Bezzecchi classified ahead by virtue of setting his time earlier, ahead of local hero Jack Miller (KTM) in eighth.

Best of the works Ducatis was Enea Bastianini, in only his second weekend back from his lengthy layoff period, in ninth with championship leader Bagnaia a subdued 11th after missing his braking point and running into the escape road at Miller Corner (Turn 4).

Honda rider Marquez was among the pacesetters in the early stages of the session until he suffered a lowside crash at the slow MG right-hander after just over 10 minutes of running.

The six-time premier class champion returned to action soon after but failed to improve his time, ending up 12th and 1.5s slower than Martin, albeit best of the Honda contingent.

LCR Honda rider Alex Rins suffered a crash of his own at Siberia on his way to 14th.

Yamaha pair Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli were only 18th- and 19th-fastest, both nearly two seconds off the pace, while Joan Mir was a lowly 20th on his works Honda.

MotoGP Australian Grand Prix – first practice results:

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