Hector Barbera was the surprise pace setter in the second MotoGP free practice session of the weekend, held in wet conditions at the Sachsenring.

The Avintia Ducati rider, who has struggled for find a good feeling with his GP16 from the beginning of preseason, took top spot from under the nose of Marc Marquez in the closing minutes of the 55-minute session.

While Barbera has failed to live up to the promise of his fine '16 campaign, he has form at the German venue, after securing his best qualifying in the top class here last year.

At the chequered flag, just 0.063s were in it, with riders some six seconds off the best time set in the dry FP1 session. Proceedings began on a wet track that was drying. Yet midway through the 55 minute session - extended by ten minutes due to a new track surface, and the inability to test on before this weekend - another downpour arrived. It took until the final ten minutes for any improvements of note to come.

Barbera, Marquez, Danilo Petrucci and Aleix Espargaro's names were regularly in the mix, as the top places changed hands minute-by-minute in the closing stages. In the end, Barbera and Marquez were some way - 0.35s and 0.29s - faster than Dani Pedrosa in third.

Ironically, Petrucci was a place back, despite having the exact same time as Pedrosa, an occasion that eerily resembles qualifying at this very track a year ago. Then, Petrucci qualified fourth after setting an identical time to Valentino Rossi, As his second fastest lap was slower, he was forced back a place, as was the case here.

Espargaro was fifth in a largely promising day for the Aprilia RS-GP, backing up his speed in the dry in FP1 - a definite dark horse for Sunday. Team-mate Sam Lowes was in the mix too, ending the afternoon ninth.

Late improvements pushed Cal Crutchlow to sixth, with the once-fastest Andrea Dovizioso eventually slipping to seventh in the closing minutes. Home hero Jonas Folger - runner up here in similar conditions in last year's intermediate encounter - was just ahead of ex-Moto2 sparring partner Lowes. Jorge Lorenzo completed the top ten.

As the Repsol Hondas soared, there will be more concern for Movistar Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi (15th) and Maverick Vi?ales (20th), 1.4s and 1.9s off the quickest pace respectively. Those wet-weather gains at Assen Vi?ales spoke of yesterday failed to materialise here.

There were positive showings for the KTMs with Pol Espargaro an excellent twelfth and wildcard Mika Kallio 14th - ahead of Rossi, winner the last time out.

Johann Zarco suffered an mid-session fall at turn four. Thankfully, the Frenchman, who achieved his first MotoGP pole position in similar conditions last week at Assen, was unhurt.

As conditions were wet throughout, no rider came close to bettering their time from FP1, meaning the overall Free Practice leaderboard remains unchanged. With rain forecast for Saturday, the FP1 top ten may translate to those riders who automatically qualify for Q2.

As things stand, the top ten in the overall free practice leaderboard is (from fastest onward) Dovizioso, Vi?ales, Pedrosa, Aleix Espargaro, Bautista, Marquez, Zarco, Petrucci, Miller and Redding.

CLICK HERE for the full results.

By Neil Morrison

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