Another session, another opportunity for Marc Marquez to whip the opposition into submission. After the race pace demolition job from FP1, Marc Marquez gave the hard front – soft rear tyre mix a good punishing, starting in the high 1:23s and barely dropping any time as the rubber got worn. With some question marks over the weather on Saturday morning, the final five minutes of the session were dedicated to the usual shootout for the provisional top ten. The battle at the front was less about top spot and more about reducing the nearly half a second gap to the world champion, who was still setting red sectors on a soft rear with a full session on it.
Maverick Vinales found some time late on to jump into second, the six hundredths of a second gap to Marquez not immediately revealing the chasm in terms of long run pace. Now is the right time for Takaaki Nakagami to impress and so he did, the LCR man third, only a tenth and a half slower that his factory colleague at the front. Fabio Quartararo found some speed in Spielberg to climb into fourth, with Jack Miller steady in the top five.
Miguel Oliveira proved that FP1 wasn’t a fluke and he really gets along with KTM’s home circuit, finishing the day sixth, ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Cal Crutchlow. Andrea Dovizioso uncharacteristically found himself admiring the scenery at turn three after a tumble on his time attack, which made him drop to ninth in FP2 but his FP1-topping time was enough to keep him safely inside the top three on combined standings.
Pol Espargaro rounded out the top ten in FP2 and was the final rider in the provisional top ten overall, outing Valentino Rossi by a tenth of a second. The Italian started his afternoon with an off-track excursion and ended it over a second down on Marquez’s pace. The Yamaha veteran has good company outside the top ten, with Alex Rins an underwhelming 12th, ahead of the Italian duo of Pecco Bagnaia and Franco Morbidelli.