Reigning world champion Marc Marquez took full advantage of the first stable weather of the day to set a blistering 1'39.395 to top the time sheet and nearly reach the lap record at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina. Marquez's fast lap, set with four minutes left in Friday's FP2, was three-tenths off the circuit record set in 2015 by Valentino Rossi.
Cal Crutchlow (2nd) was the only other rider to dip into the 1'39s on Friday, four-tenths behind Marquez. But the dual surprise of the session involved two Ducati riders, both in unfamiliar positions. Consistent and fast all FP2, Satellite Ducati team rider Tito Rabat finished third, his best-ever free practice since he joined the MotoGP class in 2016 with a satelite Honda team.
The other surprise Ducati? Look to the very bottom of the timesheet. There you will find championship leader and top Marquez rival Andrea Dovizioso a full three seconds off the pace.
Andrea Iannone, in the top five much of the session, finished fourth just in front of FP1 leader Dani Pedrosa (5th). The factory Yamaha pair of Maverick Vinales and Valentinio Rossi, who finished 1-2 in last year's race, sit at sixth and seventh respectively. Alex Rins continued his good form with eighth. Alvaro Bautista (9th) and Aleix Espargaro rounded out the top 10.
With 15 minutes left in the afternoon session, it began to resemble a typical FP3 as soon as the weather cleared. Warned of potential bad weather for Saturday's FP3 (and subsquent Q1 and Q2 placement) riders treated the final Friday practice as a quasi-qualifier. First to strike was Rossi who leapt from 15th to 2nd on the grid. Then Marquez set his fast lap and soon was nearly matched by Crutchlow with two minutes remaining.
Then Rabat, a Moto2 race winner at the track in 2014, reeled off several laps in the low 1'41s.
|Pos.||No.||Rider||Bike||Time||Diff. / Prev.|
|2||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||1'39.799||0.404 / 0.404|
|3||53||Tito RABAT||Ducati||1'40.346||0.951 / 0.547|
|4||29||Andrea IANNONE||Suzuki||1'40.455||1.060 / 0.109|
|5||26||Dani PEDROSA||Honda||1'40.494||1.099 / 0.039|
|6||25||Maverick VIÑALES||Yamaha||1'40.510||1.115 / 0.016|
|7||46||Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||1'40.577||1.182 / 0.067|
|8||42||Alex RINS||Suzuki||1'40.592||1.197 / 0.015|
|9||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||Ducati||1'40.766||1.371 / 0.174|
|10||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||Aprilia||1'40.800||1.405 / 0.034|
|11||45||Scott REDDING||Aprilia||1'40.839||1.444 / 0.039|
|12||43||Jack MILLER||Ducati||1'40.842||1.447 / 0.003|
|13||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati||1'40.863||1.468 / 0.021|
|14||5||Johann ZARCO||Yamaha||1'40.974||1.579 / 0.111|
|15||38||Bradley SMITH||KTM||1'41.198||1.803 / 0.224|
|16||55||Hafizh SYAHRIN||Yamaha||1'41.257||1.862 / 0.059|
|17||99||Jorge LORENZO||Ducati||1'41.334||1.939 / 0.077|
|18||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||Honda||1'41.357||1.962 / 0.023|
|19||17||Karel ABRAHAM||Ducati||1'41.784||2.389 / 0.427|
|20||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||Honda||1'41.832||2.437 / 0.048|
|21||44||Pol ESPARGARO||KTM||1'41.867||2.472 / 0.035|
|22||12||Thomas LUTHI||Honda||1'41.898||2.503 / 0.031|
|23||10||Xavier SIMEON||Ducati||1'42.242||2.847 / 0.344|
|24||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||1'42.973||3.578 / 0.731|