Miller sets early pace at Phillip Island on return
AUSTRALIAN MotoGP star Jack Miller made a stunning return from a broken leg to finish third fastest in the opening practice session at Phillip Island on Friday morning.
Miller piloted his Marc VDS Honda around the circuit in 1 min 29.724 sec, just 0.122 behind defending world champion Marc Marquez.
Frenchman Johann Zarco was second quickest on the Tech3 Yamaha, outpacing Miller in the final minute of the session.
Miller was competitive throughout the 45-minute session in cool, sunny conditions.
Marquez was consistently fast during three runs on the Honda. His main title challenger Andrea Dovizioso was fourth, clocking 1.29.753 on the factory Ducati.
Maverick Vinales, who won three of the first five GPs this year on the Yamaha, finished fifth.
Teammate Valentino Rossi was back in 14th. The Italian great won the Australian round in 2014 and has been on the Phillip Island podium 16 times in 20 visits to the circuit.
Suzuki continued its resurgence after a season-best fourth and fifth place last week at Motegi.
Italian Andrea Iannone was sixth quickest Friday morning.
The KTM team also enjoyed a bright start. Pol Esparago was seventh and Bradley Smth ninth.
Last year's winner Brit Crutchlow was 10th on the LCR Honda.
Aussie Broc Parkes, riding for the first time on the Tech3 Yamaha in place of the ill Jonas Folger, was 23rd.
Spaniard Alvaro Bautista crashed his Ducati on the out lap, but returned to the pits to jump on his second bike.
Hector Barbera was another rider to fall, sliding the Ducati off the track at Turn 9 late in the session.