Enea Bastianini got things off to a perfect start at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina to lead the Moto3 field after the opening practice sessions.
The Leopard Racing rider, who crashed out of the fight for the lead two weeks ago in Qatar, sat 0.408 seconds ahead of team-mate Lorenzo Dalla Porta in Friday’s combined practice times.
After a 17th place finish in Qatar, Toni Arbolino appeared keen to kick-start his 2018 season for the Marinelli Snipers Team, setting the third fastest time of the day to pip Reale Avintia Academy rider Livio Loi by 0.041 seconds.
Qatar race winner Jorge Martin was fifth quickest on his Del Conca Gresini Honda ahead of Japanese rider Kaito Toba.
Gabriel Rodrigo placed seventh ahead of Adam Norrodin and SIC58 rider Niccolo Antonelli, while Nakarin Atiratphuvapat rounded out the top ten despite a small crash towards the end of the final session.
Second place in Qatar, Aron Canet was 14th quickest for the Estrella Galicia squad, but the Spaniard made headlines for different reasons on Friday after a controversial incident involving rookie Makar Yurchenko. After the CIP rider unintentionally got in Canet’s way during the opening session of the day, the Spaniard aggressively cut past the rookie, clipping his front wheel and causing both riders to fall. Race direction opted not to punish Canet for his actions, declaring it a racing incident – a decision that has come under fire from pundits and on social media since.
Britain’s John McPhee started the weekend 18th quickest on the CIP Green Power KTM.