Espargaro Retains Practice Lead in Argentina

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Aleix Espargaro kept Suzuki at the top of the MotoGP practice timesheets with a sensational showing in FP2 at Termas de Rio Hondo. The Spaniard showed that his performance on a dirty track this morning was no fluke by going faster than last year’s fastest race lap, finishing half a second clear of Ducati’s Andrea Iannone.

The opening session provided more questions than answers due to the ‘green’ surface and relatively low grip levels but Espargaro set about resuming his domination of the weekend straight away, clocking a 1:40.075 on his second timed lap of the afternoon. The Suzuki rider was already eight tenths under his FP1 benchmark but a light shower prevented any improvements for the next twenty minutes as the majority retired to the pits.

Once conditions improved, Marc Marquez joined the fray and climbed to second but Pol Espargaro was the first rider into the 1:39s, usurping his older brother. The Tech 3 rider was quickly knocked off the top by his nemesis from the Circuit of the Americas, Scott Redding, who clocked a 1:39.892, but Marquez finally lifted himself to the top of the leaderboard three minutes from the end, opening up half a second on his fellow Honda rider.

There was still time for the elder Espargaro to have one last say on proceedings with the no.41 setting a 1:38.776 to open up half a second on Marquez at the front, aided by the factory option softer tyre. Andrea Iannone sneaked into second at the death, just as he had in the morning session, while Cal Crutchlow improved to fourth ahead of the second factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso.

Jorge Lorenzo was the leading Yamaha in sixth after edging ahead of Pol Espargaro while championship leader Valentino Rossi languished behind Redding in ninth, a tenth in front of Pramac’s Yonny Hernandez.



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