Intermittent rain and a drying track led to a succession of surprises in MotoGP FP2 in Argentina, as Tito Rabat finished inside the top three, while championship leader Andrea Dovizioso was left 24th and last.

While the official Ducati riders struggled, Marc Marquez’s speed remained a constant however, with the Repsol Honda rider one of only two men to lap in the 1m 39s.

The other was fellow HRC man Cal Crutchlow, whose second fastest time confirmed the Englishman’s presence in both of today’s sessions.

Marquez’s quickest time of 1m 39.395s was close to a full second quicker than team-mate Dani Pedrosa’s best from FP1. It took some time to reach that mark, after a shower of rain peppered the track in the opening 15 minutes, which in turn resulted in little on-track action.

Marquez and Crutchlow were considerably faster than the rest, with surprise package Rabat a full nine-tenths slower than the reigning world champion. Still, the ex-Moto2 champ can look back on FP2 as his most competitive as a MotoGP rider.

Having avoided a near miss with Maverick Vinales in FP1, Marquez saved a near highside in pit lane at the end of FP2!

Andrea Iannone carried his speed through from FP1 to the afternoon session, the Italian finishing FP2 with the fourth fastest time. Suzuki’s potential around a layout that should suit its strengths was confirmed with team-mate Alex Rins eighth.

Behind Iannone, morning pace-setter Pedrosa was fifth with the Movistar Yamaha duo of Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi sixth and seventh. 

Alvaro Bautista was ninth ahead of the competitive Aprilia duo of Aleix Espargaro (tenth) and Scott Redding (eleventh), with the Englishman in particular showing vast improvements from his last outing in Qatar.

Still, neither Bautista, Espargaro nor Redding are in the overall free practice top ten after day one, with Johann Zarco and Jack Miller ninth and tenth on combined times (behind Vinales, Rossi and Rins) courtesy of lap times they had set in FP1.

But the team with the most work to do on paper is clearly Ducati.

Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo sunk from eighth and ninth in the morning session to 17th (Lorenzo) and 24th (Dovizioso) this afternoon. They were only 15th and 16th on combined times and are therefore on course to take part in Qualifying 1 unless they can break into the top ten on Saturday morning.

Click Here for the full FP2 results...