Crutchlow splashes to top spot in FP1
● FP2 cancelled due to weather at Phillip Island ● Rossi demoted to 20th after lap count confusion
The rain arrived and with it Cal Crutchlow vied with fellow rain specialists Valentino Rossi and Danilo Petrucci for top spot in a drenched first free practice Moto GP session at Phillip Island.
The top three appeared to pay scant regard to the conditions, which worsened as the session progressed, as they regularly swapped position at the top of the time sheets.
In the end, Crutchlow was fastest, his best time of 1m 40.957s 0.041s faster than Rossi, with Petrucci just a further 0.012s slower than his countryman.
Jack Miller ensured the damp home fans entertained throughout, as he led the early minutes of the session, before slipping to fourth.
The Australian will nonetheless be pleased to end the morning one place ahead of recently crowned champion Marc Marquez.
Andrea Dovizioso was sixth fastest, ahead of Spanish trio Maverick Viñales (seventh), Pol Espargaro (eighth) and Alvaro Bautista (ninth).
Nicky Hayden began the weekend promisingly, posting the tenth fastest time after his first session aboard Michelin wet tyres since 2008.
Mike Jones was an impressive 14th at the beginning of his second weekend aboard a Moto GP machine, while Jorge Lorenzo again struggled, ending the 45 minutes 20th, 4.6s off Crutchlow's time.
Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi will start day two of the Australian Moto GP from just 20th position on the Phillip Island timesheets.
The Italian superstar was demoted from second to second-last in FP1 after exceeding the 10-lap limit Michelin placed on the extra-soft front wet tyre.
The reason for the confusion was that Rossi and his Yamaha team believed the limit referred to ten flying laps, and not his outand in-laps.
Michelin's Nicolas Goubert stated: "[Rossi] made a mistake. Like Marc made a mistake here three years ago here. It's easy [to do]."
The mistake would have been of little consequence had the wet weather not got even worse, causing the delayed afternoon session to be cancelled after 13 minutes.
Rossi was among the six riders to venture out, but it was impossible to improve on his 20th place morning time (set after the cancelled run).
That means Rossi must now hope for better conditions in the Saturday morning session, in order to claim the top ten place needed for direct transfer into Qualifying 2.
FP3 will be extended by 15-minutes to partially compensate for the lost yesterday track time.
Returning to the lap-limit, Rossi admitted to being confused by the need to restrict track time on the extra-soft front.
If, as is currently forecast, the weather steadily improves between now and the race, riders could line-up on the grid with barely any dry time.
Rossi is 14 points ahead of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in their battle for second in the world championship. Lorenzo was only 19th quickest yesterday.