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2019 Australian MotoGP Practice Round Up: Wind, Wildlife and Woe

The weekend at the 2019 Australian MotoGP has been full of action, drama and even comedy as soon as the first practice session began.

Miguel Oliveira escaped a horrifying crash at Phillip Island on Saturday as massive winds battered the race track. Both of Saturday’s free practice sessions were red flagged at different times as the Phillip Island winds ripped pit boards out of the hands of crew and onto the main straight. 

That was nothing compared to what was to come though, and in the end it was Oliveria’s massive crash at the ultra-fast turn one which prompted officials to call the rest of the day’s session off. The KTM rider was pushed off the outside of the track and onto the grass by the wind as he braked for turn one, crashing on his right side and barreling through the gravel trap at high speed. 

Oliveira was stretchered away but was conscious the entire time and was later released reporting no fractures or serious injuries. He will have to pass medical in the morning if he’s to take part in Qualifying. 

Was it the Right Call? 

Most riders agreed with the call to abandon Saturday’s sessions, but Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro both voted to ride. Pol’s assessment was different to brother Aleix, who said the front wheel of his Aprilia was floating on the wind, especially in turn one and three. 

Big Trouble for Fabio

Quartararo has work to do after a nasty crash on Friday morning. He didn’t set a time in FP1 or 2, but did record times in the top 10 during FP3 and 4. The rookie sensation missed out on a berth in Q2 and will have to fight his way in during Q1. 

Skippy 

Perhaps one of the lighter moments of the 2019 Australian MotoGP weekend came during Friday practice running, when a kangaroo hopped across the track right in front of an enthralled Andrea Iannone. The Italian watched in awe as Skippy made a mad dash for safety. 

Big Save for Marquez

After younger brother Alex pulled off his own miraculous save with a gnarly highside in Motegi, we guess Marc felt the need to step up a notch in Australia. Marquez’s front-end save at the bottom of MG Corner during the tire test session was one of his best yet, and left everyone in awe. 

Rain and Wind Generate Intriguing Q2 List 

Rain in the morning on Friday, and wind all day Saturday meant FP2 was the only clean session of the weekend, and so the times from FP2 are the ones which set the list of riders in Q2. That group is led by Maverick Viñales with Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow, Danilo Petrucci, and Jack Miller filling the top five spots. The final five locked in to Q2 are Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi, Alex Rins, Franco Morbidelli, and Aleix Espargaro.

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Written by: Jacob Black

Jacob Black head shot

Jacob enjoys riding motorcycles, racing motorcycles, watching 
motorcycles race, writing about motorcycles, and jokes. If you’re reading this, he is likely attempting to combine one or more of those passions.