Andrea Dovizioso stormed from mid pack to take the top spot late in FP2 Friday afternoon as many riders saved their best for last as worries about Saturday rain turned Friday into a quasi qualifying session. Close on Dovizioso's heels -- so close, in fact, that he practically was inside the Italian's boots -- was Jack Miller at only nine-thousands of a second back. Miller, who briefly held the top spot, had crashed early in the session but remounted to set his fast lap late.
Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina
Thomas Luthi found himself at the top of the pack early in FP2 at Termas de Rio Hondo circuit and he managed to stay there and the session's end in spite of a late, fast run by Sam Lowes. Remy Gardner had the low-side save of the weekend (so far) on his way to third, just in front of August Fernandex (4th). Nicolo Bulega, who didn't complete a single lap in Qatar two weeks ago, also made a late run to climb into the top five.
John McPhee became the only rider to dip into the 1'49s Friday at the second free practice and, in doing so, set the top Moto3 time at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. McPhee, who grabbed both pole position and a second-place here in 2017, finished practice seven-tenths in front of Tony Arbolino.
Marc Marquez started his weekend in Argentina significantly better than he ended his 2018 campaign at the Termas Rio de Hondo track. The factory Honda rider seldom was threatened in Friday's first free practice and his 1'39.827 at the session's end put him as the only rider in the 1'39s and more than three-tenths clear of the field.
Luca Marini, taking advantage of good weather to start the race weekend at the Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, set the fastest lap of FP1 Friday, just two hundredths of a second clear of Sam Lowes (2nd). Marcel Schrotter, who set his fastest laps toward the end of the session, seized third. Schrotter took third in the first race of the season.
Jaume Masia has topped the first session of practice for the Moto3 class at the Termas De Rio Hondo circuit. The Bester Capital Dubai rider was half a second faster than the two Vine Snipers team riders, Romano Fenati and Tony Arbolino.
Press releases from Michelin and some of the MotoGP teams ahead of this weekend's race at Termas de Rio Hondo:
Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's Argentina GP:
McPhee and Sasaki ready to improve results in Argentina
If anyone thought that the decision of the MotoGP Court of Appeal would bring the controversy over Ducati's swing arm-mounted spoiler to a close, they were severely mistaken. When the paddock reassembled at the Termas De Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina, the media – sparse in number, due to the astronomical cost of attending the race – had the opportunity to question the various factories involved in the controversy.
How happy they were with the decision of the court varied, understandably. But there was one thing that united all five manufacturers involved, no matter what side they were on. Ducati on the one side, and Aprilia, Honda, KTM, and Suzuki on the other all felt the process fell far short of what is needed to manage the burgeoning field of aerodynamics. That meant that precious budget, destined for developing the bikes, was being spent on lawyers to represent the factories in court.
And even though the FIM MotoGP Court of Appeal has spoken, the feeling lingers that this is the beginning of something, rather than the end. The parties are just as far apart as ever, the decision of the court serving as a basis for division rather than something the rival manufacturers can unite around. For Ducati, the decision was a vindication of what they had been saying. For Aprilia, the decision didn't address the underlying problems, and was merely one FIM body backing up the decision of another.
Below is the press release from Dunlop, previewing the first three Moto2 and Moto3 races of the 2019 season, and containing information on their tire allocation and development program: