SPIELBERG (Austria): Frenchman Johann Zarco set the fastest time in the first two free practice sessions of the Austrian MotoGP on Friday.
Zarco, who rides for Pramac Ducati, was 0.024 seconds faster than Australian Jack Miller on a factory Ducati, with another Pramac rider Jorge Martin at 0.029.
Zarco topped qualifying for the last race at Silverstone but then crashed out on lap five.
"Happy with this first day," said Zarco after the session, adding that he had given himself insurance in case the forecast rain arrives during the third practice session on Saturday.
"Important lap time in the afternoon in case of tricky conditions on Saturday morning. Overall a good feeling," he said.
World champion Fabio Quartararo was fastest of the title contenders.
The French rider, who again leads this year's standings, was fourth on his Yamaha at 0.040.
Italian Francesco Bagnaia, who is third in the standings after winning the last two races, was next on the second factory Ducati at a track where the Italian manufacturer has dominated in recent years.
The day finished with seven Ducatis in the top eight places.
Spaniard Aleix Espargaro of Aprilia, second in the standings, was 11th.
1. Johann Zarco (FRA/Ducati-Pramac) 1min 29.837sec, 2. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati) at 0.024, 3. Jorge Martin (ESP/Ducati-Pramac) 0.029, 4. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/ Yamaha) 0.040, 5. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati) 0.160, 6. Luca Marini (ITA/Ducati-VR46) 0.193, 7. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA/Ducati-VR46) 0.229, 8. Enea Bastianini (ITA/Ducati-Gresini) 0.229, 9. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Aprilia) 0.276, 10. Brad Binder (AFS/KTM) 0.291, 11. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) 0.310