Monster Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo dominated Friday’s second practice at Silverstone despite enduring a turn eight tangle in the opening minutes.
The Frenchman ended the afternoon with a 1’59.317 lap to sit half-a-second clear of his closest rivals, Jack Miller and Jorge Martin the only others break through the two-minute barrier after 90-minutes on track.
Aleix Espargaro took charge as the initial laps came at the start of FP2, the Aprilia setting a 2’02.484 pace - two-seconds down on Marquez’ morning marker - before Quartararo headed the times, three-hundredths faster.
The times were coming thick and fast as the third laps registered with Espargaro once again hitting the top. Quartararo hitting the deck at turn eight and seemingly in immense pain with his left foot after getting tangled with his Yamaha M1.
Johann Zarco headed a Ducati train from second as Miller and Martin joined him in the top-four, Alex Rins sat fifth from Marquez as Takaaki Nakagami, Iker Lecuona and Pecco Bagnaia completed the top-nine.
Pol Espargaro joined his brother at the head of the standings - both now fastest overall with Zarco for company - as Rins and Miller had their times deleted due to track limits. The Aprilia heading a Repsol/Pramac top-five as Luca Marini found his way into seventh.
Bagnaia was the next on a charge as he arrived to fourth, improving on his morning effort to sit just half-a second off Espargaro’s leading 2’00.467 time. Alex Marquez enduring his second crash of the day, as his LCR machine barrel-rolled through Maggots-Becketts, almost mirroring his brother’s incident, with rider okay.
Quartararo was back on track at the halfway stage, the team confirming the hard tyres were simply unable to deal with the low UK temperatures in his earlier off. The younger Marquez doing likewise, with 20-minutes to go.
Valentino Rossi sat fastest Yamaha as the second half unfolded, the Italian circulating in 14th before Quartararo joined and demoted him for position with his fourth lap. Cal Crutchlow running 20th ahead of fellow Brit Jake Dixon as the debutant continued his top-class education.
The flying Frenchman was back on form with 17-minutes left to run as Quartararo headed the standings with a blistering 2’00.138. The determined Yamaha instantly looking to improve the pace once again before cooling off in the second sector.
Miller sat third, filling an Espargaro sandwich, before Marquez arrived to demote the Ducati. Zarco and Bagnaia completing the Bologna powerhouse in sixth and seventh with Martin ninth as Rins and Brad Binder rounded out the top-10 places.
Another hot-lap saw the championship leader fine-tune the pace even further with 10-minutes to go, his time almost identical to his previous, just six-thousandths the difference as he circulated alone around the 6km layout.
The last five minutes fired up as Dixon set another personal best on the B-spec Yamaha, improving his time to a 2’03.114 to sit just under three-seconds down on his close friend and fellow M1 rider, Quartararo.
Miller was hunting for more as he pushed his Desmosedici into second, a seemingly fully-revamped Pol Espargaro stealing the position on the next lap with a 2’00.177. The top-three covered by just 0.078s as the session intensified.
Rossi was up to ninth in the penultimate minute, seventh-tenths adrift of the overall pace, before the marker moved again. 1’59.317 now the impressive target as the Frenchman struck once more.
With the flag flying Rossi was back up to seventh, Miller and Martin consolidating the top-three for Ducati in the dying seconds as they both broke through the two-minute barrier. The Repsol duo sat fourth and fifth as the session concluded, Bagnaia sitting sixth from Espargaro’s Aprilia with Binder, Rins and Rossi completing the Q2 promotion places ahead of Saturday morning’s final chance.