Espargaro Leads FP1 in Argentina for Suzuki

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Aleix Espargaro put Suzuki on top of a practice session for the first time since making their return to MotoGP after setting the pace in FP1 at Termas de Rio Hondo. Conditions were far from ideal for the riders with the circuit taking a while to rubber in, leading to an unusual top ten at the end of the morning.

After cutting it fine with their fuel usage in Texas, Ducati would have been hoping for a trouble-free start to the weekend but they wouldn’t get it as Andrea Iannone brought his GP15 to a smoky halt in the first few minutes. The Italian would soon return to the track on his second machine but Ducati had shown their first signs of fallibility in the new season.

Marc Marquez hasn’t been inch-perfect so far but despite some wild moments under braking, the world champion set the initial pace on a 1:42.605 but as grip levels rapidly improved, he was pushed further and further down the order. Maverick Vinales was the first to lower the benchmark time, clocking a 1:42.174, but Espargaro knocked over a second off his younger teammate’s time with his 1:40.806 ultimately proving enough to top the session.

Iannone set a 1:41.379 on his second GP15 to finish second ahead of his teammate Andrea Dovizioso and Pramac Ducati’s Yonny Hernandez, the Colombian providing the main South American hope for the weekend. Scott Redding and Nicky Hayden both found time in the rider-friendly conditions towards the end to take fifth and sixth, just ahead of Vinales, while Mike Di Meglio and Jack Miller produced standout performances to demote Marquez to tenth.



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