Marquez leads first Phillip Island practice

Dovizioso is in career-best form

Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro was the shock victor of the second practice session of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island on Friday.

Espargaro's time, set on the fifth lap of his afternoon session, prevailed by just 0.005secs over Marquez, who nearly bettered the time on his penultimate lap.

The Spaniard clocked 1:29.225, usurping world champion Marc Marquez by just 0.005sec.

Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso, who downed Marquez on the final lap to win last weekend's rain-soaked Japanese GP and is second in the world championship, was fourth fastest, 0.151secs down on Marquez.

Last year's Australian Grand Prix victor Cal Crutchlow did likewise with his 1m29.329s just 90 seconds from the end of the session.

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2016 Phillip Island race victor Cal Crutchlow was fourth fastest ahead of Maverick Vinales, who recovered from a crash at Turn 8 halfway through the session to get to within two tenths of Espargaro's time.

Six-time premier class Phillip Island victor, Valentino Rossi, trailed in 12th place overall on his Yamaha, some 0.752secs behind Espargaro's time. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Yamaha) 0.198, 6.

That knocked hometown hero Jack Miller, who had gone second quickest moments before, down to third on the Marc VDS Honda. Andrea Iannone (ITA/Suzuki) 0.379, 8.

Tech3 Yamaha rider Johann Zarco wound up best of those to have tried out the soft tyres in the closing stages of the 45-minute session, jumping into second right on the flag with a 1m29.695s.

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