Marc Marquez gave Honda a timely morale boost by topping the Friday practice times ahead of the Argentine Grand Prix. The two-time champion led a 1-2 for the factory squad with Dani Pedrosa two hundredths of a second behind while the impressive Jack Miller and Cal Crutchlow ensuring four Hondas made up the overall top five.
Conditions were poor throughout the day with the dirty track leaving grip levels unusually low for the riders. As a result, lap times were six seconds down on the pole position record in the morning session and although progress was made in the afternoon, few concrete conclusions can be drawn from the day’s running.
Marquez was quickest throughout the second session, opening up a half second advantage before being reined in by his teammate. Pedrosa was the only other rider to join Marquez in the 1:41s with third-placed Maverick Vinales clocking a 1:42.047 on a circuit that is expected to favour the Suzuki.
Jack Miller was one of the stories of the day, setting competitive lap times throughout and even topping the timesheets midway through FP1, and the Australian ended the afternoon in fourth for Marc VDS, 0.796s off the pace. Cal Crutchlow, a podium finisher here last year was fifth ahead of compatriot Scott Redding on the leading Ducati while Valentino Rossi was the top Yamaha rider in seventh, two places clear of Tech 3’s Bradley Smith.
Astonishingly, the slowest Yamaha of all was ridden by Jorge Lorenzo with the championship leader suffering more than anyone in the low-grip conditions. The Spaniard is fourteenth overnight and at risk of a place in Q1 should the forecast rain arrive on Saturday.
GRAN PREMIO MOTUL DE LA REPUBLICA ARGENTINA (FRIDAY CLASSIFICATION)
|1||93. Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:41.579|
|2||26. Dani PEDROSA||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:41.604|
|3||25. Maverick VINALES||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:42.047|
|4||43. Jack MILLER||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||1:42.375|
|5||35. Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||LCR Honda||1:42.451|
|6||45. Scott REDDING||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||1:42.458|
|7||46. Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:42.565|
|8||41. Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:42.576|
|9||38. Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:42.595|
|10||4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:42.635|
|11||8. Hector BARBERA||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:42.664|
|12||50. Eugene LAVERTY||Ducati||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:42.724|
|13||44. Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:42.774|
|14||99. Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:42.819|
|15||29. Andrea IANNONE||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:42.953|
|16||76. Loris BAZ||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:43.054|
|17||68. Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:43.242|
|18||53. Tito RABAT||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||1:43.538|
|19||19. Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:43.800|
|20||6. Stefan BRADL||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:43.892|
|21||50. Michele PIRRO||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||No Time|