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Andrea Dovizioso topped the first practice session in Argentina ahead of Marc Marquez and home rider Yonny Hernandez.
Without having a test before the weekend, many riders in the MotoGP™ World Championship were immediately out for Free Practice 1. Much of the session was spent cleaning the track, the Termas de Rio Hondo known for being highly abrasive, this caused the likes of Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) to wait several minutes before heading out.
Forecasts for the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina remain questionable with a high likelihood of rain; times in Free Practice 1 could be vital for heading into Q2 should showers hit.
Mid-session and it was Australia’s Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) who led the way. His time wouldn’t stand as Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) stole the top spot with a 1’43.684 in the final seconds of FP1. Dovizioso has a strong record in Argentina and is looking to at least repeat his second place from Qatar. Once again the Ducati engine proved a force to be reckoned with, ‘Desmo Dovi’ hitting 323km/h on his fastest lap.
Second in the session and within 0.1s of the top spot was Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), his improved pace from Qatar carrying over to Argentina. Marquez was again using small winglets on his RC213V.
Colombia’s Yonny Hernandez (Aspar Team MotoGP) got his ‘home’ round off to an almost ideal start as he completed the top three, 0.343s back on Dovizoso’s time. A technical problem saw his Qatar GP end almost before it began, no such technical gremlins present in Argentina so far.
Team Suzuki Ecstar had a strong opening session with Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro both inside the top five. The pair are using the fully seamless gearbox from this weekend onwards.
Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), Jack Miller, Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) completed the top ten.
Race winner in Qatar and the reigning World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), was 12th as he adopted a steady approach to the less than ideal track conditions.
There was a fall for Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) at Turn 7, he was unhurt.
Michele Pirro, who fills in for Danilo Petrucci in the Octo Pramac Yakhnich team while Petrucci recovers from further hand surgery, was not present as he had been assisting Ducati at a WorldSBK test in Valencia. He will join the field for FP3 onwards.
Full times from FP1 can be viewed here.
The MotoGP™ riders return to the Argentinian track at 14:05 Local Time for Free Practice 2.
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