Marquez secures fastest lap on first day of practice in Argentina

Repsol Honda rider leads teammate Pedrosa by over a second with Espargaro third

Marc Marquez stamped his authority on the first day of practice at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina with the reigning MotoGP World Champion leaping to the top of the lap times during the second free practice session. Finishing with a best lap time of 1m 39.313s, Marquez was 1.083s ahead of Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa and Open Class rider Aleix Espargaro also adapted quickly to the new circuit taking third with a best lap of 1m 40.566s on the NGM Forward Racing machine.

I am happy with how this first day went.

Marc Marquez

While the freshly renovated track was slippery this morning, the surface was much more receptive this afternoon and Marquez wasted no time in taking advantage setting fastest lap after fastest lap. Espargaro sits just ahead of LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl with the German also progressing well and setting a best lap of 1m 40.891s. Andrea Dovizioso had a rough time today with the engine of his number one Ducati Team GP14 machine letting go in FP2 but he bounced back to take the 5th best time of 1m 41.042s.

Bradley Smith (1m 41.303s) sits in 6th place with the Monster Yamaha Tech rider getting the better of his teammate Pol Espargaro while both satellite Yamaha men start in front of Movistar Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi (1m 41.395s) and Jorge Lorenzo (1m 41.533s) in 8th and 9th respectively. Andrea Iannone managed to set the 10th fastest time with the Italian’s best lap set before a big crash in FP2 with the Pramac Racing rider lucky to walk away unhurt in what appeared to be an issue with the rear wheel locking up while under heavy braking.

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

Alvaro Bautista set the 11th best time today with the GO&Fun Honda Gresini rider’s best lap of 1m 42.029s just enough to stay ahead of Yonny Hernandez with the Columbian rider pushing hard on the Energy TI Pramac Racing Machine to a best lap of 1m 42.128s. Karel Abraham’s best lap of 1m 42.348s sees the Cardion AB Motoracing rider in 13th ahead of Colin Edwards (NGM Forward Racing) with the American staying in front of his countryman Nicky Hayden in 15th for the Drive M7 Aspar team with a best time of 1m 42.62.

The remaining places went to Hector Barbera in 16th for the Avintia Racing team 1m 42.739s; Broc Parkes in 17th for Paul Bird Motorsport 1m 42.827s; Michele Pirro sits in 18th for the Ducati Team with regular rider Cal Crutchlow not racing due to an injured finger sustained last time out in Austin, Texas. Danilo Petrucci is in 19th place for the IodaRacing Project team with a best time of 1m 43.106s; Mike Di Meglio is in 20th for the Avintia Racing team with a best lap of 1m 43.125s; Michael Laverty set the 21st best time of 1m 43.151s for the Paul Bird Motorsport team; Scott Redding is in 22nd for the GO&Fun Honda Gresini team with a best lap of 1m 43.165s and in 23rd is Hiroshi Aoyama for the Drive M7 Aspar team with a 1m 43.347s lap.

Marquez was very happy with his fastest time today saying afterwards, “It was a fun day, it is always interesting to learn all the different corners and their secrets at a new track and the practice sessions go by more quickly. Maybe the day was affected by the first session, in which we sacrificed putting in a fast lap in order to keep the same tire on during the entire session. That was to enable us to keep more tyres for the remainder of the weekend.

This afternoon we were able to have a more normal practice session and the track had improved a lot. The tire durability also seemed much greater than before, and I think that it will continue improving as the weekend goes on. I am happy with how this first day went and with the base that we have. We shall continue working in the same way, as we are aware that tomorrow's times will be much closer,” Marquez added.

Aleix Espargaro, NGM Forward Racing Yamaha
Aleix Espargaro, NGM Forward Racing Yamaha

Photo by: Keith D. Rizzo

Pedrosa remains positive that he can improve as long as the track conditions do. He said, “Overall this was a good first day, because we were able to try out the track in dry conditions. The asphalt was very dirty this morning and the tyres were getting destroyed immediately so we weren't able to make much progress. In the afternoon the asphalt was better and we had an opportunity to put in some laps, testing things out with the bike and with the track. We were able to ride more consistently and gather data that will allow us to improve again tomorrow.”

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Series MOTOGP
Article type Breaking news
Tags espargaro, featured, forward racing, hatch, marquez, pedrosa, repsol, termas de rio hondo, yamaha

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