MotoGP: Marquez quickest as Honda dominate Argentina practice

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It was Honda domination as action got underway for the second round of the MotoGP World Championship at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina with RCV machinery locking out the top three positions after practice.

Unsurprisingly leading the way was reigning World Champion Marc Marquez, whose time of 1’39.395 put him 0.404 seconds clear of fellow HRC rider Cal Crutchlow.

Marquez’ time didn’t come without his now commonplace free practice moments however. The Spaniard pulled off a number of dramatic saves including a near high-side in pit lane as he pulled away from the Repsol Honda garage.

Crutchlow, who has twice stood on the podium in Argentina, was some half a second quicker than the second Repsol Honda of Dani Pedrosa, who had topped the morning’s opening session.

The leading non-Honda rider was somewhat of a surprise as tricky track conditions turned the field upside down on the opening day. Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat set the fourth quickest time to sit just less than a second off quickest man Marquez.

Andrea Iannone was fifth fasteston the Ecstar Suzuki ahead of the factory Yamaha duo of Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi, who were split by just 0.067 seconds as they look to repeat their 2017 Argentinian success.

The second Suzuki of Alex Rins was eighth quickest ahead of Tech 3’s Joann Zarco while Jack Miller completed the top ten for Alma Pramac Racing.

It proved to be a somewhat disastrous day for the factory Ducati squad with all three GP18s struggling in both sessions. Pramac rider Danilo Petrucci was quickest of the three GP18s on the grid in 14th.

Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso was 24th and dead last in FP2, but his FP1 time sees him 15th on the timesheets overall, one place ahead of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

Britain’s Scott Redding showed a step forward to place 13th quickest for Aprilia, while Bradley Smith was 17th for KTM and ahead of team-mate Pol Espargaro. 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing