French wunderkind Fabio Quartararo led a Yamaha clean sweep of the top three timesheet places on the combined Friday practice timesheet and it was only a late lap from Jack Miller that prevented a complete lock out.
Quartararo put in a 1’30.404 on his final run, using a hard front Michelin on his Petronas M1 matched to the expected soft rear to beat this morning’s quickest man Maverick Vinales by a little less than two-tenths of a second.
Vinales rushed into top spot with his 18th lap of 21, sticking in a 1’30.597 using a medium front which was enough to topple the astonishing time of Marc Marquez set on his third lap.
The reigning champion was in hospital a couple of hours ago after a whopping crash in FP1 but immediately struck back with a 1’30.891 on his third lap and went on to post 22 others.
Marquez was scarily consistent on the same soft rear tyre, setting 13 1’31s laps after his initial two in the 1’30s despite being in some pain after this morning’s crash.
Quartararo also showed a preference for the soft rear but matched to a hard front while Vinales did more laps on the medium rear but was experimenting between medium and hard fronts.
Morbidelli put in 20 laps on a front medium before changing to a hard for his time attack lap which culminated in a 1’30.625.
Miller finished a little under three-tenths off the pace, changing from soft to hard front tyres over the session while Valentino Rossi, who made it four Yamahas in the top five at a track that has two mahoosive straights, is favouring the hard front Michelin but switched to soft for his 1’30.733 time attack.
Aleix Espargaro ended the first day in seventh place and at the expense of Andrea Dovizioso who is a tenth down on the works Aprilia man. Joan Mir was the fastest of the Suzukis in ninth with Ecstar team-mate Alex Rins completing the qutomatic Q2 men should the forecast rain appear in FP3 tomorrow.
Danilo Petrucci, Pecco Bagnaia, Cal Crutchlow, Taka Nakagami and the still-injured Pol Espargaro completed the top 15 with Jorge Lorenzo still struggling in 20th, one behind Miguel Oliveira who suffered another crash, this time at the relatively slow final turn.
Free practice two top speeds
43 Jack MILLER AUS Pramac Racing DUCATI 330.2
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 329.2
93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 329.2
35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL HONDA 328.2
99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 328.2
9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 327.2
17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Reale Avintia Racing DUCATI 327.2
36 Joan MIR SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR SUZUKI 326.2
42 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR SUZUKI 326.2
63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Pramac Racing DUCATI 326.2
41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA 325.3
44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 325.3
46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA 325.3
12 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA 324.3
20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT YAMAHA 324.3
21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT YAMAHA 324.3
30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU HONDA 324.3
29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA 323.3
53 Tito RABAT SPA Reale Avintia Racing DUCATI 323.3
55 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 322.3
82 Mika KALLIO FIN Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 320.4
88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 320.4