Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) stole the headlines again on Day 1 of the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina, taking to the top to take over from reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). Marquez had a lowside crash in FP1, but escaped unscathed to duel it out at the top of an unexpected first day at Termas de Rio Hondo.
The biggest news behind the two men at the front saw some big names outside the top ten after FP2 – with rain a possibility on Saturday and combined practice times crucial in deciding entry to Q2 qualifying.
Third on a shuffled pack of a Day 1 was an incredible performance from Pull&Bear Aspar Team’s Karel Abraham, as the Czech rider just pipped his teammate Alvaro Bautista in an impressive third and fourth for the Independent Team. Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) was fifth, with Reale Avintia Racing’s Loris Baz another impressive performance in P6.
Seventh was 2016 Brno and Phillip Island winner Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), ahead of German Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie Jonas Folger, who was top rookie on Day 1. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was ninth, with Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone completing the top ten in what could be some critical combined timesheets if weather changes overnight.
Outside the top ten saw Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) and Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in P11 and P12, in front of Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa in 13th – and the ‘Baby Samurai’ also suffered a lowside, low-drama crash in FP2, rider ok.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was another big name in P14, with Reale Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera completing the top 15.
Just behind Barbera saw nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) taking P16 – with another five world titles outside the top ten as Ducati Team rider Jorge Lorenzo ended Day 1 in P18.
Next is FP3, and that all-important final chance to get into the top ten and gain automatic entry to Q2 – with all eyes on the sky to see how the weather changes. The session begins on Saturday at 9:55am local time (GMT -3), with Q1 and Q2 qualifying getting underway from 14:10.
Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) kept his good form rolling on Day 1 of the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina, topping the timesheets once again – ahead of Dynavolt Intact GP rider Marcel Schrötter taking Suter into the top two. Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) completed the top three.
FP1’s fastest Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) was P4 on combined times, ahead of the new KTM chassis in P5 with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo). 2014 Moto3™ World Champion Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was sixth fastest, suffering a fast crash at T3 on Day 1 but escaping unhurt.
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) led compatriot Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) in P7 and P8, with Xavi Vierge impressing for Tech 3 Racing Team in ninth. Dominique Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten) completed the top ten.
Qatar podium finisher Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) had a more muted Day 1 in Argentina, finishing in thirteenth.
Moto2™ head out for FP3 on Saturday at 10:55am local time (GMT -3), before qualifying at 15:05.
Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) continued his form following his win in the #QatarGP, taking to the top of combined times late in FP2 to end Friday on top. Key rival Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) was the closest challenger to the Mallorcan, ending the day half a second back. Compatriot Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) bounced back from a difficult Qatar GP in style to complete the top three.
British Talent Team rider John McPhee was holding the top spot until late on and ended the day in fourth – more fantastic form from the Losail podium finisher. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completed the top five, just ahead of RBA BOE Racing Team rider Juanfran Guevara. Second RBA rider and home hero Gabriel Rodrigo impressed in FP1 despite having broken his collarbone in Qatar, with the Argentine rider passed fit to race and ending first practice in P2 before being hampered by some technical issues in FP2.
Darryn Binder put in a good performance for Platinum Bay Real Estate in P7 on combined times, with Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Livio Loi (Leopard Racing) and Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) completing the top ten.
Top rookie on Day 1 in Argentina was Honda Team Asia rider Kaito Toba, with the Japanese rider impressing in P13.
FP3 begins for Moto3™ at 9:00am local time (GMT -3).
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