TERMAS DE RIO HONDO, Argentina – MotoGP championship leader Andrea Dovizioso topped the practice charts Friday at Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo.
Dovizioso topped the practice charts, but just barely as the top-21 riders were all within a second of the Ducati star’s best lap. His top time of 1:39.181 was only .009 of a second better than the time set by Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller Friday afternoon.
“I’m very happy, especially because we struggled quite a bit here in recent years and today, on the other hand, we found a good feeling with the bike right away,” Dovizioso explained. “We are all extremely close so the lap time itself isn’t too important, but I feel much better riding compared with last year here. I still don’t know whether it’ll be enough to fight for the podium, because there are many riders with a strong pace and this track is peculiar, especially in terms of grip, which is particularly low. Anyhow, we have an excellent base, we made some steps forward with the setup and I think we still have room for improvement.”
Maverick Vinales was third fastest for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP squad, .164 of a second behind Dovizioso’s fastest lap. Cal Crutchlow was fourth for LCR Honda, followed by rookie Fabio Quartararo in fifth for Petronas Yamaha SRT.
Valentino Rossi was sixth on the second Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP entry, with Alex Rins seventh for Team Suzuki Ecstar. Marc Marquez was fastest throughout the second practice, but a flurry of late fast laps by other riders demoted the reigning MotoGP champion down to eighth on the overall speed charts.
Franco Morbidelli was ninth on the second Petronas Yamaha SRT bike, with Takaaki Nakagami completing the top-10 for LCR Honda Idemitsu.