In a stark contrast to this morning the sun was shining brightly across the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit when pit-lane opened for FP2 at 1505 on Friday afternoon.
Vinales had pretty much dominated FP1, while Jack Miller and Marc Marquez were also always close to the top of the time-sheets throughout the wet morning session.
Vinales had looked very comfortable on the wet track, his YZR-M1 slithering around underneath him as he put in plenty of 1m39s before underlining his wet pace with a 1m38.957s to hold off late charges from Miller and Marquez. This trio clearly had the best pace in the wet. Rossi in P4 was just under a second off his team-mate.
The big news from FP1 though was Fabio Quartararo’s crash. The young Frenchman was stretchered to the medical centre where pain-killers were administered that ruled him out of participating in FP2. He was cleared of any broken bones but extensive bruising to his ankle was causing him great discomfort. He had been seventh in the morning session.
In the dry this afternoon half the field were into the 1m31s by lap three. Marquez then dropped in a 1m30.332s on his fourth lap, despite a massive wiggle coming on to the main straight. Vinales was right behind him on 1m30.467s while Crutchlow, Miller and Petrucci were also now in the 1m30s.
Maverick Vinales was the first to dip into the 1m29s, a 1m29.916s on his ninth lap showcasing that wet or dry he is up to fighting for victory this weekend.
Danilo Petrucci was the second rider to drop under the 1m30s barrier, and then did it again on the next lap to better Vinales and go P1.
That didn’t last long though as Marquez blasted across the line to a 1m29.718, only to then go quicker again at the first split before getting caught up in traffic at turn four, ruining that lap. Next time around though he bettered it to 1m29.621s.
Vinales then turned up the wick to a 1m29.195s with 20-minutes still remaining.
Jack Miller kept his powder dry until ten-minutes were left, the Aussie then shooting up to second place ahead of Marquez, a 1m29.609s to the Pramac Ducati man.
With five-minutes left on the clock riders were largely heading out of pit-lane on fresh rubber for a last charge time attack to ensure their spot in Q2 tomorrow, should Saturday turn out as wet as expected.
Petrucci jumped up the order to P2, a 1m29.327s pushing Miller back to P3. Miller retaliated, but not quite by enough, despite the Australian improving his time Petrucci remained P2 with two-minutes remaining.
Pol Espargaro then crashed while trying to improve on his best of 1m30.859s, his afternoon was done.
Maverick Vinales then smashed them with a 1m28.824s.
Marquez was on a flyer, under at the first split, then elbows out to pass his team-mate which might have cost him a little time and ruined his shot at P1. The two Repsol Honda men remonstrating with each other as they prepared for their practice start.
In the dying seconds Dovizioso shot to P2 on 1m29.320s, and Crutchlow promoted himself to P3 on 1m29.325s, pushing Petrucci back to P4 and Miller P5.
Marquez ended the session in P6 ahead of Valentino Rossi, Alex Rins and Franco Morbidelli while Aleix Espargaro rounded out the top ten.
Vinales on top, by half-a-second no less!
With Saturday’s weather forecast looking ugly, it is likely that today’s times will decide who and who does not automatically go through to Q2 tomorrow.
Straight after FP2 riders then participated in a 20-minute test session for Michelin, who were using the opportunity to evaluate some 2020 specification rubber.
Marquez topped the tyre test session and pulled off another one of his ridiculous saves after losing the front. 70-degrees of lean was registering as he had the bike on his knee and elbow all the way until it almost came to a complete stop, without touching the ground. Marquez then rolled across the grass, waving to the ground as they watched on and picked their jaws up off the ground, then simply carried on to reel off more 1m29s…
Then to add more comedy to the show a wallaby hopped across the circuit in front of a couple of MotoGP riders… Phillip Island really does have it all 🙂