Marc Marquez laid down a daunting marker for the opposition by topping the practice timesheets on Friday in Argentina. The world champion led Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa on the combined leaderboard as Honda riders excelled around the twisty Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, a stark contrast to the factory Ducati runners.
Pedrosa had ended the morning session as the rider to beat and with the rain flags flying early in FP2, the Spaniard’s 1:40.303 took some time to be challenged. Marquez looked the only rider capable of matching his team-mate, leading the session by over a second at one point, and a flurry of new-tyre runs late on saw Marc produce a scintillating 1:39.395, nine tenths quicker than Pedrosa.
Crutchlow cut the gap with a 1:39.799 on his late qualifying simulation, the only other rider inside 100 seconds, while Pedrosa’s FP1 time was enough to keep him inside the top three. Tito Rabat was a surprising fourth for Avintia, ensuring Ducati got at least one rider inside the top ten, with Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone next up in fifth.
After looking in danger of missing the Q2 cut once again, Maverick Vinales leapt up into sixth in the dying seconds, edging out Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi, while Alex Rins, Johann Zarco and Jack Miller rounded out the top ten. With rain potentially set to disrupt FP3 on Saturday morning, this may leave championship leader Andrea Dovizioso stranded in fifteenth, forcing him to compete in Q1.
2018 Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina: (Friday Practice)
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