With the tarmac only feeling like turning the heating up to 24 degrees, the start of MotoGP practice was complicated by the section of track around turns three and four taking its time drying out. Only a handful of riders tested the conditions in the first ten minutes, on a mix of slicks and rain tyres, while most riders were waving to the cameras from their fully dry seats.
The action unfolded in the final half an hour, all riders taking to the track in dry trim. Marc Marquez took seven laps to get within a hundredth of a second of the best FP1 time and went on to post a series of mid-to-high 1:24s. The world champion was one of the few who did not go for a shootout in the final few minutes and opting to put in a few more laps in a medium rear.
With red sectors coming in hot in the final five minutes, Marquez was dethroned while he was going all rodeo into turn four. The gaggle of Ducatis that we expected to steal the show took its time to put it all together but Andrea Dovizioso got it right on his very last lap to top the session by over two tenths of second.
Maverick Viñales also timed his run just right, a late change to new tyres helping him on his mission to second. Dani Pedrosa added a Honda to the top three, the Spaniard four tenths down on the leader.
Johann Zarco was in the lead for a blink of a second but was demoted to fourth, closely behind Pedrosa and only nine hundredths of a second ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, who showed a little more promise than in FP1.
Marquez dropped down to sixth place but he had assured himself a top ten position overall after his first run. The fellow Honda of Cal Crutchlow followed him closely in seventh, with Aleix Espargaro throwing an Aprilia into the mix.
The top ten was completed by Scott Redding and Alvaro Bautista, although Hector Barbera’s session-topping benchmark from FP1 was enough to keep him into the top ten on combined times and leave Bautista in an uncertain position going into Saturday’s predicted wash-out.
Whatever the opposite of a rain dance is, Valentino Rossi probably tried it, the Italian looking like having saved a top ten position in the final five minutes but several late improvers pushed the Yamaha man back down to twelfth (thirteen position on combined times).