The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix will take place a day earlier than planned with organisers preparing for poor weather at Phillip Island.
In an unprecedented switch, the main event will be held at 3.10pm Saturday AEDT instead of 2pm Sunday after being swapped with the sprint race.
The change was confirmed on Friday afternoon, after the majority of the crowd had already left for the day following the end of the second practice session.
“This decision has been taken proactively in order to guarantee the best and safest possible show for all competitors and fans attending Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit this weekend,” a statement said.
Up to 9mm of rain and very windy conditions are expected to hit Phillip Island on Sunday.
Some rain could fall on Saturday but organisers are hopeful the weather won’t deteriorate until after the race.
Local hope Jack Miller narrowly missed out on recording the fastest time during the second practice session.
Only South Africa’s Brad Binder was quicker than Miller during a scorching session at Phillip Island on Friday afternoon.
Miller took it up to Binder, his KTM factory teammate who sits fourth in the championship standings, to force his way into the crucial second qualifying session on Saturday.
Binder was the only rider to record a lap under one minute 28 seconds, notching a time of 1.27.943.
Miller, who is ninth in the title race, was eighth fastest in practice one as he looks to make amends for a disappointing return to Phillip Island in 2022.
The 28-year-old looked a shot of pinching a podium place in last year’s race but was taken out in reckless style by Spain’s Alex Marquez on the corner that is now named in the Queenslander’s honour.
Miller is back on home soil on his factory KTM this year after switching from Ducati at the end of last season.
“The bike is great, I feel comfortable,” Miller said.
“I feel quietly confident about this weekend, but there’s lots of fast guys so we’ll see.”
MotoGP title contender Jorge Martin set the early pace, clocking the fastest time in the first practice.
The Spaniard bounced back from crashing out of the Indonesian GP last Sunday.
Martin finished a whopping 0.7 seconds ahead of countrymen Augusto Fernandez and Maverick Vinales to make it an all-Spain top-three.
The 25-year-old enjoyed the Phillip Island track last year, but couldn’t convert his pole into a race victory and placed seventh as fellow Spaniard Alex Rins secured a memorable win.
Martin sits second in the title race, 18 points behind Italy’s defending world champion Francesco Bagnaia.
Practice was miserable for Marc Marquez, with the six-time world champion crashing on turn 10 in both sessions after also coming off his Honda in Indonesia.
Marquez, who will ride for Ducati next season, has crashed 25 times during a difficult year.