Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez got to grips with the challenging track surface at Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo, posting a lap time of 1'39.313 to finish quickest in Friday practice at the Argentina Grand Prix.
Marquez’s quickest lap was set using the medium compound front and hard compound rear slicks, the same combination his teammate Dani Pedrosa used to achieve the second-quickest time of 1'40.396. Third quickest today was NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro, who set a personal best time of 1'40.566.
Track conditions were poor on the first day of the race weekend, with heavy deposits of sand and a lack of rubber on the asphalt combining to reduce grip levels and increasing tire wear. The dirty track and low track temperatures in FP1 resulted in very high abrasion levels for the rear tire, but conditions marginally improved for FP2 which helped return grip and tire wear to a more reasonable level. Today’s peak track temperature of 34°C was recorded at the end of FP2.
With grip hard to come by on the dusty track surface, the soft compound front slick was the preferred option in FP1, while the medium compound front slick was more popular in the warmer FP2 session. All three rear slick compound options were evaluated by riders today, with all specifications providing good performance around the fast Termas de Río Hondo track. With conditions set to improve again tomorrow, riders will use Saturday to determine their preferred tire choice.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport tire Development Department
“Conditions were as we expected today, with the sandy track surface causing high rear tire wear and low grip levels. This problem was compounded by low track temperatures in the morning which resulted in some tire graining, but we knew that conditions here would get better session-by-session. For FP2 the track showed signs of improvement and this resulted in better tire wear and greater grip which helped the riders significantly improve their lap times. All rear slick options were used today, as well as the soft and medium compound front slicks, and our allocation for this weekend seems to be well suited to what is quite a challenging track for tires.”
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.