MotoGP’s return to Austria saw the riders (bar one) take to the track for the first time in an official race weekend, with new tyres and a reconfigured last turn. The quickest learner proved to be Maverick Viñales, the Spaniard taking over the top of the standings in the final few minutes of the session – a welcome sight for the struggles of Suzuki in the test previously held here.
The Ducatis were slower to warm up to the track compared to their testing adventures, Yonny Hernandez and Andrea Iannone the standout red bikes early on, with Andrea Dovizioso making a late charge to finish second, followed by his teammate.
Jack Miller was a surprising early leader on a cold track, Valentino Rossi narrowly taking over after a handful of laps. The Australian still finished in a decent eighth position, while the Italian was probably glad to finish fourth and challenge the expectations we had from Yamaha after their testing results.
Following some mid-session bike fiddling and data studying, first Marc Marquez then Yonny Hernandez grabbed the top position before another break into proceedings. In the end, the Colombian ended up fifth, followed by the world championship leader, almost half a second off this session's leader.
Jorge Lorenzo was a slow starter but recovered some ground to finish seventh, ahead of Miller and Petrucci, the wildcarding Ducati of Pirro completing the top ten.
The session was not without incident though. Stefan Bradl took the honour of being the event’s first top class crasher, sliding and sparking up out of turn three on an out lap on cold tyres. Then, with twelve minutes left, the red flag came out as the air fence was damaged by a crash from Dani Pedrosa, the Honda rider thrown to the ground (unhurt) while braking in a straight line into turn nine. The bike was retrieved from the top of the tyre wall, the air fence was fixed and Viñales got a late shot to FP1 stardom.