The first day of practice at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit has just ended for the riders in MotoGP and it’s been an interesting one. Honda will be pleased with day one in Argentina while Yamaha not so much as they struggled to come to terms with the dirty track conditions.
For much of the session today the Honda’s have dominated things with former World Champion, Marc Marquez in particular having a very fast day. The Repsol Honda rider finished FP2 as the fastest rider out there in the blazing South American heat with his team-mate Dani Pedrosa coming in a very close second.
In third place as the chequered flag came down on FP2 was the Team Suzuki Ecstar of Maverick Viñales. The Spaniard finished with a lap just under half a second behind his countryman on the blue machine. Although the #25 did look impressive out there, it wasn’t without incident as Viñales did throw his bike down the road in FP2.
Arguably the performance of FP2 came from Jack Miller, the Australian’s confidence appears to be burgeoning on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda. Miller was very close to wiping out Valentino Rossi as he left it very late going into turn nine, but thankfully they managed to avoid a collision which was late in the day and possibly could have brought the curtain down early for both riders. However, the near miss didn’t deter Miller as he posted a 1’42.375 to finish just ahead of his former team-mate at LCR Honda, Cal Crutchlow.
Crutchlow made it four Honda’s in the top five with a late charge to post a lap of 1’42.451, a time which no doubt would please the ultra competitive Brit. Just behind him was Scott Redding’s Octo Pramac Ducati in sixth place, the #45 bike looked stable around the track and he will no doubt take much heart in the fact he is today the fastest Ducati around the circuit. With the factory Ducati’s of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone languishing in 10th and 15th respectively, a contrast to FP1 where ‘Dovi’ had been the fastest man on track.
What was surprising though was how far off the pace Jorge Lorenzo has been, while it is only day one the reigning World Champion could only register a time which would only put him down as 13th fastest. Lorenzo was clearly unhappy with the setup of the bike as he sat out a lot of the second session and could be seen in deep conversation with his crew about the stability out on track. It did appear he wasn’t happy with the adhesion levels given from the Michelin tyres, suggesting the front of the bike was having a tendency to tuck underneath him. Over the other side of the Movistar Yamaha garage, Valentino Rossi did fare a little better as he brought his machine home seventh fastest after FP2, some 0.986 seconds slower than Marquez.
With a lot of the riders still seemingly uncertain about the longevity in the new tyres, and with a possibility of rain tomorrow it all adds up to qualifying being very interesting.
- Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 316.8 1’41.579
- Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’41.604
- Maverick VIÑALES SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1’42.047
- Jack MILLER AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1’42.375
- Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda 1’42.451
- Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Yakhnich Ducati 1’42.458
- Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1’42.565
- Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1’42.576
- Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’42.595
- Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1’42.635