14th and 9th is not where you would expect to find MotoGP championship leader Valentino Rossi on the Friday practice timesheets in Argentina.

A dirty track and high tyre wear meant that the Movistar Yamaha joined may of the frontrunners in making a low-key FP1.

But while the likes of Marc Marquez (third) and Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo (sixth) stepped up their pace significantly in FP2, the Italian remained 1.171s from Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro.

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"In the second practice the condition of the track improved a lot," Rossi explained. "The lap time is already very competitive. The big issue is about the tyres as we still have to decide both the rear and the front.

"The feeling with the bike is very positive although we need to improve the balance and the setting. The position is not fantastic but we are not very far from the top guys so tomorrow we will try to improve the feeling with the bike and the lap time."

The Factory class Honda and Yamaha riders have a new extra-hard rear tyre available this weekend, alongside the hard rear. Meanwhile the likes of Suzuki and Ducati (second and fifth with Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso) must chose from the medium and hard rear compounds.