The intermediate class got a soggy start in Australia, riders perhaps not too keen to face the cold and the wind in addition to the rain but they put their head down and looked for the limit. Some found it too soon, fresh victor Luca Marini crashing out at turn two on his outlap and, tired to be outdone, Alex Marquez immediately followed suit at turn four. While the two rivals were getting their sessions back on track with varying levels of success, Nicolo Bulega claimed top position and no one got within eighth tenths of the Italian’s top time until well into the session. The SKY racer carried on finding red sector times while many were just finding gravel but a late attack from Jorge Martin put the impressive rookie at the top of the pile.
With Bulega demoted to second by seven tenths of a second, he was joined by the familiar face of Stefano Manzi in the top three, the MV Augusta rider one second down on the leader. Despite reduced running due to a late crash at turn ten, Xavi Vierge climbed to fourth, ahead of a low key session for Tom Luthi. The Italian duo of Andrea Locatelli and Marco Bezzecchi came next, just ahead of Sam Lowes in eighth place. Marquez managed to rejoin proceedings and tip-toe his way into ninth, while Marcel Schrotter completed the top ten.
Remy Gardner was nearly two seconds off the leader but that was a much smaller concern than his massive crash at the end of the session in turn 8. The local favourite escaped unharmed and finished the morning 11th, but with considerable work for his crew over lunch. Somkiat Chantra, Tetsuta Nagashima and Lorenzo Baldassarri joined the provisional top 14, with the Thai rider and the Italian also joining the fallers’ list at different points in the session.
Brad Binder was left just outside the top 14, with Jorge Navarro taking it easy in 20th spot. Marini’s early scare caused some discomfort to his already troubled shoulder so the Italian sat out the rest of the session. Fresh off his big MotoGP announcement, Iker Lecuona also decided to keep cosy in his garage.
|3||62||Stefano MANZI||MV Agusta||1'46.961||1.138||0.367|
|20||9||Jorge NAVARRO||Speed Up||1'49.137||3.314||0.113|
|22||20||Dimas EKKY PRATAMA||Kalex||1'49.637||3.814||0.015|
|23||77||Dominique AEGERTER||MV Agusta||1'49.728||3.905||0.091|
|29||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Speed Up||1'52.906||7.083||0.025|