Iannone fastest in Australia MotoGP practice

Andrea Iannone (Getty Images)
Andrea Iannone (Getty Images)

Phillip Island - Italy's Andrea Iannone clocked the fastest time in practice on Friday ahead of the Australian Grand Prix as Cal Crutchlow had a heavy crash and was stretchered away holding his leg.

The Suzuki rider powered to a quickest lap of 1:29.131 at the death after the opening session was delayed by almost two hours due to oil on the track and rain.

Fellow Italian Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) was 0.160 behind in second place, while Yamaha's Maverick Vinales, who topped the first practice, came third.

Newly-crowned world champion Marc Marquez, who has an insurmountable 102-point lead at the top of the standings, struggled around the demanding Phillip Island circuit in seventh, 0.608 off the pace.

The Spaniard, who won the race last year ahead of Valentino Rossi, took a tumble, hitting the deck on the hard turn 10 during first practice.

He got straight back on his feet, but it wasn't a good omen for a rider who crashed out of the Australian race in 2014 and 2016.

Britain's Crutchlow, the 2016 winner who came second in Japan last week, also had a big fall and was stretchered away holding his right leg, ending the session fifth fastest.

Italian veteran Rossi could only manage 10th on a dry track after the early rain cleared.

At least the world's best riders didn't have to avoid the local wildlife, unlike the Moto3 contenders, with a kangaroo hopping across the track in front of one bike at turn 5.

A black swan also took a liking to the picturesque circuit that fronts the ocean, waddling across during a lull in proceedings.

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