Keep the sun, add some clouds and subtract some wind - there’s your recipe for FP2 in the premier class. That left suitable conditions to set up a battle for a direct Q2 ticket, with the concerning forecast for Saturday in mind. That being said, most of the session was reserved for work on tyre endurance, particularly on the soft rear, with a few exceptions like Pedrosa and Rossi on the medium.
Aleix Espargaro hit some good form after a pretty average FP1 and moved to the top of the pile after a handful of laps. The Aprilia looked like a temporary occupant of the top of the standings until the mad dash for a Q2-worthy lap would begin but that theory proved wrong as few improvements were to be found in the final ten minutes.
Marc Marquez finally sampled the soft rear tyre at the start of FP2 and the Spaniard did not take it off for the rest of the session. But he did choose a matching hard front tyre and some aero flourishes for his final run, giving the yellow-banded tyre its first outing of the weekend. After stalking Andrea Dovizioso from a reasonable distance for a few laps, the world champion got within five thousandths of a second of breaking his compatriot’s heart.
Dovizioso was only a tenth of a second behind and keeping Marquez in his sights, another seven thousandths separating Cal Crutchlow in fourth position. Maverick Viñales paired an improved performance with a quick crash in turn eight, the blend resulting in a fifth place, less than two tenths off the pace of Espargaro.
Jack Miller continued to impress in sixth spot, while Andrea Iannone was on a roll on the island, once again in the top seven. Johann Zarco overcame an early technical issue to finish in eighth position after running his beloved used soft tyres for much of the session. Dani Pedrosa was probably relieved by the conditions, the Spaniard eventually reserving his Q2 seat with a ninth place on the timesheets.
The final Q2 spot, temporarily at least, went to Pol Espargaro, the Spaniard making KTM happy to the detriment of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. The former teammates will be hoping for the forecast to change around once again by the time their alarms start ringing on Saturday morning.