After the high of victory in the Qatar season-opener, reigning MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo slumped to just 14th during day one in Argentina.
The Spaniard struggled on the bumpy and slippery Termas dee Rio Hondo circuit, setting a best lap time 1.240s behind Honda's Marc Marquez.
“Very difficult. This is racing. Sometimes you are on top, sometimes you have problems. You have to see things in a positive way. But obviously today has not been one of my best days,” said Lorenzo, repeatedly seen examining his front tyre during practice, before walking straight out of the garage at the end of FP2.
“We have problems with this tarmac, which didn't improve like in other years. It kept being very dirty and not so grippy, especially in the braking. We have some problems with this bike with this tarmac and these tyres. The only thing that we can do is try to improve the bike and be more competitive tomorrow.”
Illustrating Lorenzo's point about the track failing to clean as quickly as expected, the Spaniard had progressed from a 1m 44.750s (FP1) to 1m 39.463s (FP2) last year. Today he began with a near identical 1m 44.742s in the morning, but only managed a 1m 42.819s in the afternoon session.
MotoGP has changed from Bridgestone to Michelin tyres this season and introduced standard ECU software.
Now Lorenzo must wait and hope that the forecast rain does not arrive on Saturday morning. “We hope it won't rain because now we are out of the top ten places to go directly to Qualifying 2,” he confirmed.
Team-mate Valentino Rossi was seventh quickest.