A resplendent Red Bull Ring greeted the premier class with a cloudless sky and pleasantly warm asphalt and no one enjoyed his return more than Marc Marquez. Second best in Austria for far too long for his liking, the world champion stretched his Honda’s legs to a series of terrifyingly consistent mid 1:24s, the fastest of which kept him half a second ahead of the competition for most of the session. However, he eventually lost the early headlines when fresh tyres invaded the track and Andrea Dovizioso sent him back to second by under two tenths of a second. With Ducati claiming their territory on the final flying lap, Marquez had no cause for concern, the Spaniard reverting back to his favourite strategy of doing the full session on the same set of tyres – mediums in this case.
Behind the usual title contenders, Maverick Vinales was next in third spot, half a tenth off his compatriot and less than a tenth ahead of Brno podium boy Jack Miller. More familiar faces in fifth, where Valentino Rossi set camp ahead of Fabrio Quartararo and Alex Rins. Possibly encouraged by his adventures in Brno, Johann Zarco was flying the flag for KTM on the first out at their home race, almost two tenths of a second faster than Takaaki Nakagami. Miguel Oliveira continues a great run of form but rounding out the top ten in FP1, faster than the likes of Cal Crutchlow, Aleix Espargaro and Danilo Petrucci – the trio about one second down on the leader.
Andrea Iannone started his birthday celebrations down in 18th position, while the big absentee was Joan Mir, the unlucky Spaniard still recovering following his horrific testing crash in Brno.