Crutchlow got the better of the fight with Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro for second, as Rossi came charging through the field - picking off Pol Espargaro and Ducati Teams rider Andrea Dovizioso, then setting his sights on Aleix Espargaro and soon getting past. "Last year I had a really bad race, but this year I'm sure it will be different", began Dovizioso.
"I just put my bike underneath - I don't know if he saw me or not but he just kept turning", he said. "Phillip Island has been a kind circuit to me throughout the years - except 2014!" said Crutchlow, who crashed out on the last lap two years ago.
The LCR Honda rider quickly moved up to second place in the early stages of the race, with newly-crowned champion Marquez nearly three seconds clear out front.
Team Suzuki Ecstar's Maverick Viñales was sixth and the last man within a second of session and combined leader Cal Crutchlow, slotting in ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Pol Espargaro and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista as the timesheets started to spread out.
He too admitted that "this weekend has not been easy with regard to the weather". "Sometimes we make mistakes". Rossi, who continued his remarkable podium record at Phillip Island, holds a 24-point break on the Spaniard with a maximum of 50 points left to fight for. This is one of the most demanding circuits of the season and it was made even more hard with the weather, but we are happy with the way the whole weekend worked out.
"It looks like a wet Saturday and maybe a dry Sunday, which might benefit us in the long run", he said. "We now go to Malaysia in high spirits, because we did a good job today". He spoke of how he felt "very comfortable" in the wet and it confirmed to him that so far over the weekend they are "getting things right" and he hopes to "maintain this dynamic". Unfortunately, we didn't get any track time during FP2 as there was too much water on the track, yet we had the whole practice this morning and I am pleased with our performance.
COVENTRY's Cal Crutchlow heaped praise on his LCR Honda team after capping off an incredible MotoGP season by taking his second victory of the year in Australia. "I am going to believe that I have this psychological advantage until probably free practice one", he quipped.
"The first day in Phillip Island hasn't been the best, but with these tough conditions, not only with the water, but also with the temperature at one of the fastest circuits in the world, racing can become quite risky so we had to play it safe". Rounding out the top 10 were Redding's teammate Danilo Petrucci and the home favorite, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda's Jack Miller.