Reigning world champion Marc Marquez led an all-Honda top three after Friday practice for this weekend's Argentina MotoGP.

In a typical day of close scares and crushing speed, Marquez improved from sixth in the morning session - led by team-mate Dani Pedrosa - to finish 0.4s clear of another HRC rider, Cal Crutchlow, in the quicker afternoon outing.

Pedrosa completed the combined top three, 0.9s behind Marquez.

"Of course today was a good day, but it was a strange day because the track was so slippery," said the Repsol Honda rider. "It was the same for everybody, but when it's slippery, I feel better. I feel good, I like to play with the bike, and I was able to do a good lap, a good pace.

"But I think tomorrow and especially Sunday, everything will be closer, because the grip will improve and everything will be more tight. But anyway, today we did a very good plan for the practice.

"I think we are on a good set up for the bike. About the rear tyres, still some question marks, because I tried the soft and medium and both tyres are working very very similar. But anyway, try to be consistent and try to push a little bit more tomorrow."

Of the Honda day one dominance he added: "At the [private] Jerez test, we did another step. There we found a little bit more.

"I already said in Qatar, we are good but still missing something on the electronic side, on the character on the engine. So step by step we are trying to find small things, and we confirmed here that it is working well.

"But this is one race track that suits better with the bike and rider compared with for example Qatar.

"We said in Qatar, if we are in a good place there – we finished second very close to Ducati – we are in a good level. This bike is working better than it was last year, we have more power, and the lap time is coming easier."

Marquez had to rely on his legendary reactions in each of today's sessions, firstly threading his RCV between Maverick Vinales and Karel Abraham after losing the rear under braking in FP1, then hanging on to a near highside while practicing a bike change at the end of FP2.

"About pit lane, I don't know, I was trying to make a quick flag-to-flag and I did my record time [for a bike change]

"But the place where the second bike is, is not asphalt. It's kind of different tarmac and it was more slippery and dirty, and I lost the rear. So we need to be careful with this on Sunday, because it's another point where we have some risks.

"And FP1 with Maverick and Abraham, this was more tight. This was more dangerous, because they were wide and maybe slower, but here when you go onto the dirty part of the track, it's so difficult to turn the bike, so difficult to stop.

"I was going in and then I started to lose the rear, and so I said, 'OK, I go wide'. I realised that I would go wide, but they were outside and when I saw a small place between Abraham and Maverick, I just released the brakes and opened the gas to get through, because if not, it would be too dangerous."

 

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