After Fabio Quartararo stole his thunder in FP1, Marc Marquez was out for revenge when the green flag waved at the end of pitlane. Always the rebel, the Spaniard swapped his tyres for a hard-soft combination while pretty much everyone else was on mediums and attacked some mid 1:33s to put him a handful of tenths ahead of the competition early on. The Honda man also had a good look at his closest challenger, Maverick Vinales putting Yamaha’s carbon fibre swingarm through its paces. With the grip still reported to be less than ideal, it was the usual suspects dipping into the 1:33s early on, Marquez joined by Vinales, Quartararo, Alex Rins and the welcome addition of Franco Morbidelli.
The pace calmed down a bit as tyres got chewed up and Marquez and Quartararo were left alone in the 1:33 club towards the halfway point of the session. The duo were chasing each other on track as well, having a close look at the other’s secrets until warnings came through from their teams. One final battle was on the cards with the time attack starting in the final six minutes and the Yamahas were on the offensive, with Vinales delivering the first 1:32 time of the day, quickly followed by Quartararo posting a similar time. Despite a few hairy moments throughout the day, the Frenchman threatened his factory colleague’s top spot for the next couple of laps but Top Gun wrote the headlines by six hundredths of a second.
With frantic action all around him, Marquez stuck to an old soft rear tyre and kept the pace going in the low 1:34s without being too bothered about the shootout. The world champion added a Honda in third place, right in the middle of a Yamaha panini with Valentino Rossi and Morbidelli as the bottom bun. Pol Espargaro and Danilo Petrucci were the final men within a second of the leader, with Andrea Dovizioso just missing out on that achievement.
Alex Rins and Cal Crutchlow completed the top ten of the session but neither man is in the provisional top 10 for Q2, due to Michele Pirro and Aleix Espargaro’s better FP1 times.