The afternoon Termas de Rio Hondo is tinted red, with two Ducatis topping the pile. The final minutes of the session proved decisive, in that the riders used the soft tyre, making for a sort of pseudo qualifying. Andrea Dovizioso set a 1’39”181 on his last attempt, to close just 0.009 of a second ahead of Jack Miller on the Pramac Ducati, who is proving to be more than confident around the Argentinian track, despite a crash. At a track where the red bike has sometimes struggled, the two riders are sending a clear sign.
Don't put too much faith in flying lap times though, in that Marc Marquez elected not to use the soft, and is proving unbeatable in terms of race pace. With the hard tyre, the HRC rider lapped almost half a second quicker than Miller, his closest rival. A clear signal as to Magic Marc's superiority, despite the classification telling a different story for now, placing him eighth ahead of the Yamaha of Franco Morbidelli.
Marquez appears to have an extra gear at Termas de Rio Hondo and his rivals can only play catch-up. One of these Valentino Rossi (+0.260), who has not yet shown the necessary confidence with the medium tyre. The Doctor has taken a step forward with the soft solution though, finishing in sixth place behind rookie Fabio Quartararo (+0.176). Once again the Frenchman surprises, closing as the best rookie. Still with the M1, the fastest of which belonged to Maverick Vinales today, author of the third quickest time, just one thousandth of a second ahead of Cal Crutchlow on the Honda, the winner of last year's race.
There is good news further down the timesheets for Andrea Iannone, who confirms a similar time to team-mate Aleix Espargarò, finishing ahead of him in fact. A lacklustre session for Danilo Petrucci, his official GP19 down in 13th place, followed by the GP18 of Pecco Bagnaia and the Suzuki of Mir. Things were worse for Zarco on the KTM (17th, +0.775), and Jorge Lorenzo on the Honda just 21st. The Spaniard created sparks on trac, having inserted titanium screws in his slider to increase the thickness.