Report and results follow:
Alvaro Bautista and Yonny Hernandez went into the first qualifying sessions as the favourites to get promoted to the top twelve.
Report and results follow.
Five minutes into the untimed session, Jorge Lorenzo laid down a 1'39.372, followed by a 1'39.241, the quickest time of the weekend so far, on his third flying lap. This stood as the quickest time for the remainder of the session.
Marc Marquez inserted himself between Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. Dani Pedrosa was fourth quickest while Aleix Espagaro kept the wingless Suzuki near the top in fifth ahead of Andrea Dovizioso on the bewinged Ducati.
Report and results follow.
Lorenzo Baldassarri was the quickest rider in this session, even though he couldn't beat Takaaki Nakagami's quickest time set yesterday morning. Sam Lowes was second-quickest in spite of a crash ending his session.
Valentino Rossi was the only non-Spaniard in the top six, setting the quickest time of the weekend ahead of Marc Marquez and Pol Espagaro. Jorge Lorenzo was a quarter of a second slower than his teammate as they head to qualifying.
Brad Binder sets the quickest time, just over three tenths of a second quicker than Jorge Navarro, Enea Bastianini and Niccolò Antonelli.
The infection of the MotoGP paddock is almost complete. At Jerez the last of MotoGP's factories fell to the winglet virus. Aprilia debuted some massive double decker items on the nose of the fairing. Suzuki brought a more modest pair, sitting below the bike's nose. And Honda's case of winglets grew more severe, the tiny side-mounted winglets replaced with much larger versions, akin to the early Yamaha ones. The only holdouts are most of the satellite teams, and even they are starting to look longingly at the mustachioed factory bikes.
Why is this happening? Because the winglets provide a tangible benefit. Not huge, but big enough to make a difference. As Valentino Rossi put it, after also succumbing to the winglet infection, "small wings, small help." That had been the tenor of rider comments on winglets from the moment they first started to appear at the start of last season.
But at Jerez, we finally heard from a rider who was unashamedly enthusiastic about the wings. Aleix Espargaro had spent Thursday night pleading with Suzuki engineers to be given a chance to try the winglets during the weekend, instead of waiting until the Monday test, following the original plan.
Jorge Lorenzo is showing ominous signs of the kind of domination he displayed in 2015, when he ruled the roost for four straight races on MotoGP's return to Europe. After being fastest in the morning session, Lorenzo extended his advantage to over a third of a second, the Movistar Yamaha rider setting a very strong pace.