2015 Argentina MotoGP FP2 Result: Suzuki Parties Like It's 2007

Aleix Espargaro shocked the field with a 1'38.776 lap to lead the second practice at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit Friday in Argentina. Espargaro's time pushed the Spanish rider more than half of a second clear of second place and put Suzuki on top of the timesheet for the second practice in a row. 

Suzuki, which this year retured to MotoGP after a three-year absence from motorcycle road racing's top class, has not led two MotoGP practices since former MotoGP rider John Hopkins topped FP2 and FP3 in China in 2007 (according to MotoMatters.com Netherlands-based analytics department).  With the strong, top-10 showing by the two-bike team in Austin last week, development of the new GSX-RR appears to be ahead of schedule.

Andrea Iannone put in a late fast lap to take second from World Champion Marc Marquez (3rd).  Cal Crutchlow also put in his quick lap near the session's end to grab fourth. Andrea Dovisioso completed the top five, slightly more than six-tenths slower that Espargaro's Suzuki. Yamaha factory riders remained off the pace with Jorge Lorenzo in seventh and Valentino Rossi in ninth. 

Espargaro was the only rider to drop into the 1'38s and it put him within a second of Marquez pole lap from 2014. Lap times could continue to fall as practice resumes Saturday with a clear sky and warm tempertures expected.

Results:

Pos. No. Rider Bike Time Diff. / Prev.
1 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Suzuki 1'38.776  
2 29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 1'39.311 0.535 / 0.535
3 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 1'39.336 0.560 / 0.025
4 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 1'39.403 0.627 / 0.067
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'39.434 0.658 / 0.031
6 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 1'39.463 0.687 / 0.029
7 44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 1'39.648 0.872 / 0.185
8 45 Scott REDDING Honda 1'39.892 1.116 / 0.244
9 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1'39.947 1.171 / 0.055
10 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati 1'40.088 1.312 / 0.141
11 25 Maverick VIÑALES Suzuki 1'40.126 1.350 / 0.038
12 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha 1'40.195 1.419 / 0.069
13 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 1'40.438 1.662 / 0.243
14 69 Nicky HAYDEN Honda 1'40.522 1.746 / 0.084
15 17 Karel ABRAHAM Honda 1'40.586 1.810 / 0.064
16 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati 1'40.626 1.850 / 0.040
17 6 Stefan BRADL Yamaha Forward 1'40.672 1.896 / 0.046
18 50 Eugene LAVERTY Honda 1'40.846 2.070 / 0.174
19 43 Jack MILLER Honda 1'40.864 2.088 / 0.018
20 15 Alex DE ANGELIS ART 1'41.152 2.376 / 0.288
21 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda 1'41.380 2.604 / 0.228
22 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia 1'41.490 2.714 / 0.110
23 63 Mike DI MEGLIO Ducati 1'41.531 2.755 / 0.041
24 33 Marco MELANDRI Aprilia 1'41.576 2.800 / 0.045
25 76 Loris BAZ Yamaha Forward 1'41.784 3.008 / 0.208

 

Round Number: 
3
2015
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Total votes: 29

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Comments

Marco Melandri is doing practically the same time as Bautista. Getting his mojo back, perhaps?

But then De Angelis is still half a second ahead of them both on a non-Factory prototype, so probably too early to read into things.

Total votes: 59

Just last season, we would read this page on a Friday, wondering which of the four factory bikes was most likely to lead the pack into the first corner on Sunday. The red bikes had an outside chance but nothing more.

And look what we have now! I am really enjoying this. It almost feels a bit like the first 990 days. Four manufacturers with competitive bikes. Not on the same level but at least good enough for a surprise lap. Satellite bikes good enough for a top 5 qualifying at least. On the other hand, the usual suspects on factory machines actually having to work their asses off to make the top 5 in Friday's FP! This really is a lot of fun! Even though I am not really expecting a huge surprise come sunday.

Total votes: 53

It is nice to not know what is going to happen. Maybe Carmello Ezpeleta deserves a bit of credit for the changes over the past few years. It might have prompted -- in part -- the factories to produce somewhat competitive customer bikes and encouraged Suzuki to return (along with KTM in 2016-17). 

Total votes: 56