The second round of the 2016 MotoGP Championship throttled into action Friday with the first of two free practices at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina. This is the third year MotoGP raced at the South American circuit, and many challenges lay ahead due to some significant changes within the series.The biggest challenges at the 2.99-mile circuit containing 14 corners were getting up to speed with the new spec Michelin tire and Magneti Marelli ECUs. But the weather further complicated things; air temperatures reached 90 degrees (f), and track surfaces nearly 130.
But when all was down, Honda machinery dominated the 20-rider grid; four Hondas filled the top-five positions Friday with Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez leading the charge. Marquez, who won the Argentina Grand Prix en route to his second title in 2014, posted a 1:41.579, finishing 0.025 of a second ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa.The factory Honda RC213V prototypes were untouchable, finishing nearly a half of a second quicker than the man in third, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Vinales. The Spaniard was 0.468 of a second slower than Marquez, who earned the second step of the podium at the 2016 MotoGP season opener in Qatar.Rounding out the top five were Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS’s Jack Miller (-0.796 of a second behind Marquez), and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (-0.872).Marc Marquez says :”Today was a bit of a strange day, but the feeling was good in the end and we finished first on the timesheets. I think that the conditions will change a lot during the weekend, even from the first to the second session we saw the surface improve, although not as much as we had expected.“So far track conditions are worse than last season so seems that the times will be a long way off those from last year, but it will be the same for everyone and we are trying to manage it in the best way possible and adapt the bike as best we can.”The top Ducati rider was Octo Pramac Yakhnich’s Scott Redding, who finished a mere 0.007 of a second behind Crutchlow. Earning the top Yamaha time was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi, who finished 0.986 of a second behind Marquez.Rounding out the top 10 were Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith and the man who finished second at Qatar, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.As for Qatar winner, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo finished the day 14th, 1.240 seconds off the pace.The grid will swell to 21 Saturday as Michele Pirro substitutes for the injured Danilo Petrucci on the other Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati GP15. Pirro – an official Ducati test rider – had just returned from a World SBK test at Valencia.
2016 Argentina MotoGP Friday Practice Results, FP2:
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.