Honda debutant Marc Marquez has topped both Friday practice sessions for the Qatar MotoGP leading Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) with Marquez’s final lap ending up just 0.001 second quicker.
The first three of four MotoGP practice sessions have a direct bearing on Qualifying.
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow comfortably sealed a Q2 placing with third spot for Monster Yamaha Tech 3, as Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi was fourth on his return to Yamaha Factory Racing.
Shooting into the top five in the late stages was Andrea Dovizioso on his first Ducati Team weekend, with Repsol’s Dani Pedrosa having struggled for front end grip since the start of first practice but still securing a Q2 effort with sixth.
Alvaro Bautista went seventh for GO & FUN Honda Gresini. Nicky Hayden on the second Ducati Team bike was on eighth spot, with British rookie Bradley Smith impressing achieving ninth for Tech 3.
Stefan Bradl looked to have a challenge on his hands as the times came down, but snatched back tenth for LCR Honda MotoGP.
At the end of Q1 on Saturday, grid positions 13 and downwards will be decided. However, the fastest two riders will be promoted to Q2, making for a final top 12 contest.
Pramac pairing Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies, plus Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro on the leading CRT machine; the trio ends Friday in positions 11 to 13.
Australia’s Bryan Staring on Gresini’s CRT bike was 21st of the 24 riders.