With the troublesome weather forecast for the weekend, the Red Bull Ring was kind to allow at least one dry practice session for the premier class to provisionally settle the Q2 lineup. Presumably frustrated with the events of Brno, Pol Espargaro led all throughout the session and responded to every challenger by extending his gap at the top of the timesheets. Not even the Ducatis on their favourite playground could cope with the KTM man’s speed but Andrea Dovizioso looked invigorated by the return to the Red Bull Ring and climbed into second, only half a tenth off the leader.
Takaaki Nakagami carried the flag for Honda to join the top three, aided by a cancelled lap time for Joan Mir over a yellow flag infringement, which also left Alex Rins as the lead Suzuki man in fourth. Franco Morbidelli was once again the first Yamaha, making it five different manufacturers in the top five.
Johann Zarco was back at the business end in sixth, half a second off the leader and narrowly ahead of Miguel Oliveira. Jack Miller and Joan Mir kept close as well, while the final top ten position went to a subdued Fabio Quartararo. The Frenchman pushed his future teammate out of provisional Q2 positions, leaving Maverick Vinales together with Danilo Petrucci, Valentino Rossi, Cal Crutchlow and rookie winner Brad Binder to do a no-rain dance over the next 24 hours.