Marquez stays top despite incidents, Lorenzo finds form in practice

Marc Marquez kept Honda at the top of the MotoGP times in Argentina, despite three off-track excursions and a Jorge Lorenzo resurgence in the third practice session

Marquez stays top despite incidents, Lorenzo finds form in practice

Marquez had set the pace at Termas de Rio Hondo on Friday, as Hondas occupied four of the top five places.

Track conditions improved significantly on Saturday and faster laptimes duly followed, with Marquez improving on his overnight benchmark by nearly seventh tenths early on, despite running off the road at Turn 5.

He improved a further three times, eventually setting a 1m40.368s.

When Marquez fell at Turn 1 with seven minutes remaining, he was sixth tenths clear at the top of the field.

Almost immediately and over consecutive laps, Lorenzo closed that margin to 0.128 seconds and then just 0.024s.

While that was how it stayed - despite the Yamaha rider setting fastest first and second sectors on two later occasions - it marks a major improvement for Lorenzo after he was a troubled 14th on Friday afternoon.

Marquez returned to the circuit in the closing minutes, but repeated his earlier trip off the road at Turn 5, as he visibly hustled the Honda.

Having, like Lorenzo, struggled on Friday, Ducati's Andrea Iannone was third, ahead of satellite Avintia rider Hector Barbera, who vaulted up to fourth after the chequered flag.

Suzuki's Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro in fifth and seventh were split by Dani Pedrosa, while Cal Crutchlow was eighth and Andrea Dovizioso ninth.

Valentino Rossi in 10th was the final rider to book a guaranteed spot in the second phase of qualifying.

The Yamaha rider made it by just 0.044s over Jack Miller, the Australian having been on the bubble when the chequered flag was shown, but ultimately knocked out by Barbera.

Standing in for injured Pramac rider Danilo Petrucci, Michele Pirro impressed in his first action of the weekend.

Pirro missed Friday's sessions as he travelled to Argentina from a Ducati test at Valencia, and wound up 15th and ahead of team-mate Scott Redding, having been ninth entering the final minutes.

PRACTICE THREE TIMES

Pos Rider Team Bike Time Gap Laps
1 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 1m40.368s - 18
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Yamaha 1m40.392s 0.024s 18
3 Andrea Iannone Ducati Ducati 1m40.741s 0.373s 21
4 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m40.766s 0.398s 17
5 Maverick Vinales Suzuki Suzuki 1m40.796s 0.428s 18
6 Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 1m40.807s 0.439s 18
7 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki Suzuki 1m40.893s 0.525s 17
8 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 1m40.929s 0.561s 18
9 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 1m41.040s 0.672s 18
10 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 1m41.101s 0.733s 20
11 Jack Miller Marc VDS Honda Honda 1m41.145s 0.777s 18
12 Pol Espargaro Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 1m41.171s 0.803s 20
13 Bradley Smith Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 1m41.246s 0.878s 20
14 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m41.359s 0.991s 18
15 Michele Pirro Pramac Ducati Ducati 1m41.379s 1.011s 18
16 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia Aprilia 1m41.679s 1.311s 20
17 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati Ducati 1m41.726s 1.358s 17
18 Tito Rabat Marc VDS Honda Honda 1m41.798s 1.430s 22
19 Stefan Bradl Aprilia Aprilia 1m41.909s 1.541s 20
20 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati Ducati 1m41.924s 1.556s 17
21 Eugene Laverty Aspar Ducati Ducati 1m42.106s 1.738s 18

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Marc Marquez hopes Honda's MotoGP edge stays as track improves

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