Latest MotoGP Results
In the tire selection contest known as FP4, Marc Marquez emerged as the fastest rider as the first qulaifying session loomed. Cal Crutchlow continued his strong showing one-tenth of a second off Marquez pace. Jorge Lorenzo, looking quick for the first time all weekend, grabbed third as all of the riders worked less for time and more for determining which tires combinations will work for a full race distance on the hot, abrasive track.
Sam Lowes set a new lap record at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit to claim the top spot in FP3 Saturday. Lowes was the sole rider in the 1'42s. Even so it's a tighly bunched field with a one second margin from first to 21st.
However Lowes, who was first in Austin one week ago, finished only four-hundredths of a second over Johann Zarco (2nd) and eight hundredths better that Alex Rins (3rd). Tito Rabat claimed fourth.
The first through fourth FP3 ranking mirrored the finishing order in Texas one week ago. Qatar race-winner Jonas Folger was fifth as temperatures continued to climb.
Marc Marquez managed to pull a slim advantage over the field in the third free practice Saturday at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina. Marquez's narrow margin over Cal Crutchlow -- three hundredths of a second -- mirrors what ended up as the smallest differential for the entire field this year: Less than a second separates first through 13th and it is less than three seconds between top spot and 21st and last bike, Alex De Angelis' ART.
The Andreas' Ducatis grabbed the next two slots -- Ianonne 3rd and Dovizioso 4th -- closely followed by the story of the weekend thus far: Aleix Espargaro's factory Suzuki which led the first two practices. The factory Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo (6th) and Valentino Rossi (7th) spent much of the session outside the top 10. But late in FP3 with a slightly softer rear tires in place, both climbed into the top 10 and earned a spot in Q2. Danilo Petrucci put his satellite Ducati into 8th. Right on his heels is the second factory Suzuki of MotoGP rookie Maverick Vinales.
Danny Kent made one thing clear to his rivals during FP3 Saturday at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina: Pick up the pace or fight for second place. Kent's 1'48.854 put him three-tenths of a second clear of the field, set the fastest-ever Moto3 lap at the new circuit and ecliped the record set by Alex Marquez last year.
Efren Vazquez came in second fastest, two-tenths ahead of Miguel Oliveira. Fabio Quartararo continued the remarkable start of his international racing career with fourth, closely followed by John McPhee (5th). Qatar race-winner, Alexis Masbou, arrived in sixth, seven-tenths shy of the leader. The top ten riders are separated by one second.
Johann Zarco climbed back to the top of the perch just ahead of Sam Lowes by a six-hundredths of a second at the Termas do Rio Hondo circuit Friday. Zarco's 1'43.239 puts him two seconds faster than his FP2 time from 2014. Sam Lowes, winner last week in Austin, came in a tenth back.
Mika Kallio, who was slightly off the pace at COTA and again in Argentina in FP1, appears to found some addiitonal pace for FP2 and finished just a tenth off Zarco's pace. Points leader and Moto2 rookie Alex Rins came in 10th, six-tenths back.
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.
Danny Kent reminded the field of his dominance at last week's Texas race with a practice lap that put him four-tenths of a second clear of the pack in Argentina. Kent's 1'49.154 just barely ecliped Jack Miller's pole position time from last year. Livio Loi and Karel Hanika claimed second and third with identical times but Loi getting the second place nod based on a faster second-fastest lap.
Last week's second place finisher, 15-year-old Fabio Quartararo, ended the session in sixth, just behind Enea Bastianini (4th) and Miguel Oliveira (5th). The weather appeared to slightly worsen with scattered sprinkles in the warm weather at the Termas Rio Hondo track.
With four minutes left in the first Moto2 free practice Friday, Jonas Folger set the quickest-ever Moto2 lap at the Termas de Rio Hondo track in Argentina. Folger, the race winner in Qatar, clocked a 1'43.816 to beat last year's pole time (set by Tito Rabat) by nearly a tenth of a second. Rabat -- second in the first free practice this year -- managed to close within two-tenths of Folger but could not equal his own top time from 2014. Lorenzo Baldassarri took a leap forward with the third-best showing in FP1.
And where was Sam Lowes? The dominant rider at last week's Austin contest spent much of FP1 at the top of the timesheet. But Folger's late session run (among others) saw him drop into seventh, behind Franco Morbidelli (4th), Thomas Luthi (5th) and Johann Zarco, the second-place finisher in Austin.
Times in all classes, especially MotoGP, are expected to continue to drop as the racing line cleans up at the track which first saw MotoGP racing in 2014.
Aleix Espargaro, taking advantage of a slow initial session, put his factory Suzuki at the top of the timesheet at the first Motogp free practice at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina. Espargaro's 1'40.806 put him half a second clear of the field on the dusty track. The pair of factor Ducati Andreas -- Inannone (3rd) and Dovizioso (4th) -- rounded out the top three.
But here's where the leaderboard gets a bit odd: Riders four through six include Yonny Hernandez, Scott Redding and Nicky Hayden, all of whom appeeared more willing to push their bikes while the factory Hondas and Yamahas used the first session to establish a clean racing line on the dusty track. World Champion Marc Marquez finished in 10th while the Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo completed the session in 14th and 20th respectively.
Despite the session's slightly more moderate pace -- at least among some of the top riders -- Espargaro's 1'40 is nearly two seconds faster than last year's FP1 at the new track located 1000 km from Buenos Aires. Last year's race was the first for the 4.8 km (3 mi.) track.
Noccolo Antonelli, who finished near last at week's race in Austin, set the tone early Friday in the first free practice at the Termas de Rio Hondo track in Argentina with the top top spot under a cloudy sky. Antonell's 1'51.523 put him one-tenth of a second faster than Danny Kent, last week's winner. Isaac Vinales ended the session nearly two-tenths shy of the top spot.
As he did in Texas, Kent led most of the session. But Antonelli, who was quick in Texas early in the race, managed a late, fast lap at the session's end. The start of practice was slightly delayed to clean the 4.8 km (3 mi.) circuit.