As the riders learned their way around the new Termas de Rio Hondo track Marquez demonstrated his ability to go quickly at unfamiliar venues once again, recording a 1’39.313 best lap to put him clear of nearest rival Pedrosa.
Espargaro once again showed his pace and the potential of his ‘Open’ NGM Forward Racing package, placing himself third on the timesheet with a 1’40.566 best effort on the Forward Yamaha.
In fourth place was LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, the German rider who was one of a select group to test at this venue last year. He ended the day 1.578s behind Marquez.
Completing the top five was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) who ended the session riding his second bike after the engine on his first machine blew up early in the practice. The Italian lapped within 1.729s of P1.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro were sixth and seventh respectively, with Smith making a late improvement to jump from the foot of the timesheet as he improved his time by three seconds with a fast lap.
Valentino Rossi and his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Jorge Lorenzo were eighth and ninth after Lorenzo had gone fastest in the morning FP1 session. They will both look to step up the pace on Saturday morning.
Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) walked away from a heavy crash at turn five and returned to the track on his second bike to improve his time and complete the top ten.