Marc Marquez has started fastest at the Argentina MotoGP by topping the opening practice after dominating the session as grip levels began to build up.
Following the opening Moto3 and Moto2 sessions, the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit remained fairly slippery due to the lack of track activity at the Argentine venue. That appeared to suit reigning MotoGP world champion Marquez over his rivals as he instantly produced a lap inside the 1m 40s bracket to lead early on.
As his rivals began to uncovered their own pace, Marquez produced a last-lap flyer of 1m 39.827s to push out his advantage to 0.353s over Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller in second place who grabbed pole position in wet conditions at the track 12 months ago.
Fresh from a podium on his injury comeback for LCR Honda, Cal Cructhlow’s own late lap saw him move up to third place ahead of an eye-catching performance from Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli.
Andrea Iannone also impressed on the Aprilia by taking fifth place, while Johann Zarco – another adapting to new machinery in 2019 – claimed sixth place for Red Bull KTM to see both breathe fresh confidence into their respective starts to the season.
Despite surging to second place inside the closing five minutes of FP1, Andrea Dovizioso faded to seventh place for Ducati. The Italian rider used the controversial tyre cooling device in the opening session having had it declared legal by the FIM MotoGP Court of Appeal after appeal protests by four rival manufacturers at the Qatar round.
MotoGP rookie Fabio Quartararo leapt up to eighth place for Petronas Yamaha with Suzuki’s Alex Rinsand Monster Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi rounding out the top 10.
Takaaki Nakagami just missed out on the top 10 for LCR Honda, by 0.030s, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM) edging brother Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) for 12th and 13th respectively.
Jorge Lorenzo climbed up to 14th place for Repsol Honda – 1.5s slower than team-mate Marquez – as he continues to adapt to the RC213V while managing his fractured rib suffered at the 2019 opener in Qatar.
Maverick Vinales also endured an underwhelming start to his race weekend down in 18th place for the factory Yamaha and 1.8s off pace-setter Marquez.
Both Joan Mir (Suzuki) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) suffered separate offs at Turn 1 which left the Spaniard 19th and the Italian 20th on the times at the end of FP1.
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