Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina, free practice roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3

 In MotoGP, News


Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez started the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina on top form, finishing Friday 0.404 seconds clear of closest rival Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) despite a wobble in pitlane and a few moments for the reigning Champion. But with plenty of late chopping and changing – with all the riders battling it out to get into the top 10 for fear of the weather changing on Saturday – the Spaniard’s reign at the top of the timesheets rarely looked under threat.

Fellow Honda rider Crutchlow was his nearest challenger, however, finishing the day as top Independent Team rider at a track he’s had good results on in the past. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) was third after topping FP1 in a last lap dash, with Honda in control at Termas de Rio Hondo so far.

Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) was the first non-Honda rider to make it straight to provisional Q2 entry as he impressed, ending the day just 0.043 behind the number 26 and as top Ducati. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone completed the top five with his laptime from FP1, with the Italian showing good pace in Argentina.

Last year’s winner Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) finished Friday in P6, 0.067 ahead of his teammate Valentino Rossi as the rider from Roses made big progress up the timesheets in the afternoon, while Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) propelled himself into eighth right at the end of the day. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Johann Zarco held on amongst a late flurry of quick laptimes to end the day in P9, with Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) taking the final provisional Q2 spot in P10.

It was a difficult day for both factory Ducati Team riders, with Andrea Dovizioso 1.543 seconds back in 15th and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) just behind. With Rabat leading the way so far for the Borgo Panigale marque, both will want to move forward on Saturday – and will be hoping the weather stays clear to allow improved laptimes on the hunt for Q2.

Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) showed more impressive pace to end the day as the fastest rookie, less than a second off Lorenzo’s time on his first visit to the track in the premier class.


Mattia Pasini’s (Italtrans Racing Team) 1.44.461 in FP1 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina was enough to see him end Day 1 fastest at Termas de Rio Hondo, with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) finishing second overall. Qatar race winner and Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) was 0.275 off Pasini’s time in third, with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder fourth overall. The top four all set their fastest laps in FP1, with the weather coming in towards the end of the second session and curtailing a final push for a quick laptime.

With track conditions constantly changing, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was one of only five riders to improve on their FP1 times in the afternoon. He finished FP2 quickest, with his time of 1.44.802 enough to place him fifth overall. SAG Team rider Isaac Viñales was 0.455 back in sixth, with Danny Kent (MB Conveyors – Speed Up Racing) seventh. Rounding out the top 10 was Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), Dynavolt Intact GP’s Xavi Vierge and Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) – with Vierge and Gardner in the top three at the end of FP2.

After duelling for the win at Losail, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) was 0.619 back in 13th and he’ll be hoping to climb the timing sheets as the battle for pole position heats up.


Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) topped the timesheets by a considerable 0.408 seconds on Day 1 of the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina, with teammate Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) giving the team a great start to the weekend to make it a Leopard 1-2. Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) was third overall, the Italian impressing as he got back in the groove following a more difficult start to the season in Qatar. Livio Loi (Reale Avintia Academy) – another big improver – was a further 0.041 seconds further back in fourth, while Del Conca Gresini Moto3’s Jorge Martin rounded out the top five on a track where he grabbed a podium last season.

Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) was 0.023 back from World Championship leader Martin as the Japanese rider took sixth, with home hero Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) – who led for most of the session – a solid seventh.

Malaysian Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was eighth quickest on Day 1 as he kept his morning pace rolling in the afternoon, ahead of Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse). Honda Team Asia rider Nakarin Atiratphuvapat suffered a crash on the final lap, however he walked away unscathed and ended the day in the top 10.

After an incident in FP1 in which he collided with Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP), Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) took P14, with FP1 leader Bezzecchi further down the timesheets.


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