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MotoGP Argentina: Marquez leads Honda FP2 charge, Lorenzo 14th

Honda fills four of top five places during FP2 in Argentina, world champion and Qatar winner Jorge Lorenzo 14th.
Honda defied the MotoGP formbook to fill four of the top five positions during Friday practice in Argentina.

HRC has struggled to adapt to the control ECU software, with only two of its riders in the top 13 at the Qatar season opener.

But low grip on the hot and dusty Termas de Rio Hondo circuit seemed to play into the RC213V's hands, factory star Marc Marquez finishing the day just 0.025s ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

Suzuki's Maverick Vinales broke the Honda domination in third (0.468s), despite a fall, with satellite RCV riders Jack Miller and Cal Crutchlow an impressive fourth and fifth.

Lap times were still 2.5s off record pace, but the threat of rain on Saturday meant the final stages of FP2 saw riders pushing hard to secure a top ten place.

Behind Crutchlow, Scott Redding (Pramac Ducati), Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha), Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki), Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) did just that - but Qatar winner and reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo was left down in14th.

The Spaniard - who continues to be linked to Ducati for 2017 - was visibly unhappy with his front rear tyre and walked straight out of the back of the Movistar Yamaha garage at the end of FP2, having lapped 1.2s from Marquez.

Given the 'slow' lap times, Lorenzo may well find the feeling he needs as the grip increases, but must now cross his fingers and hope for dry weather in FP3, to avoid being sent to Qualifying 1.

Another rider with reason to be frustrated was Tech 3's Pol Espargaro who, like brother Aleix, fell twice today. But while the Suzuki rider (how has joined Vinales on the 2015 frame) could at least take comfort from a top ten place, Pol was left 13th overall. Just ahead of him was Aspar's Eugene Laverty, who continues to build on his impressive Ducati debut in Qatar.

Michele Pirro, due to replace the injured Danilo Petrucci this weekend, missed the Friday action due to prior testing commitments in Europe but is due on track for FP3.

1. Marc Marquez
2. Dani Pedrosa
3. Maverick Viñales
4. Jack Miller
5. Cal Crutchlow
6. Scott Redding
7. Valentino Rossi
8. Aleix Espargaro
9. Bradley Smith
10. Andrea Dovizioso
11. Hector Barbera
12. Eugene Laverty
13. Pol Espargaro
14. Jorge Lorenzo
15. Andrea Iannone
16. Loris Baz
17. Yonny Hernandez
18. Tito Rabat
19. Alvaro Bautista
20. Stefan Bradl

By Peter McLaren

Tagged as: Honda , Marquez

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