Jack Miller lead the way as the track formed a dry line to top the European MotoGP FP2 session at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia.
The Pramac Racing rider looked race ready, an early highlight of his session a supremely tight pass inside Maverick Vinales to move into first.
The lead changed hands continuously before a well timed last lap from the Australian landed him a best of 1m 32.528s as the chequered flag waved.
Every rider improved in the session, with an almost as impressive late run from Aleix Espargaro seeing him leap up to second, just 0.092s behind Miller’s best.
The Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider didn’t really feature on the timesheets until the closing moments, when his time bettered that of Franco Morbidelli. The Petronas man was consistently a feature in the top times but had to settle for third, though he remained the top Yamaha despite a run through the gravel as he pushed his bike to the limit.
Takaaki Nakagami rallied after a lacklustre performance in the wet to be fourth best in FP2 for LCR Honda Idemitsu.
The Spaniard inherited the position when Cal Crutchlow had his best lap cancelled as the session concluded, his next best effort was only good enough for twelfth.
Championship leader Joan Mir snuck back into the top ten courtesy of the Crutchlow demotion, with his closest rival Fabio Quartararo also stumbling in the tricky conditions, he was one place higher than the Suzuki rider in ninth for Petronas.
Quartararo had still made significant progress from the previous session, where he had finished last in the wet.
Maverick Vinales was a disappointing eleventh on the Yamaha factory entry but worse news was to come – it was announced during FP2 that he would be using a sixth engine which leads to a demoralising pit lane start for the title contender.
Danilo Petrucci had a late fall, but was eager to get back to the pits to finish the session and keep his place in the provisional top ten. The Italian ran back to the pits from turn fourteeen, but his keenness was not matched by his Ducati mechanics – on his return his bike was not ready to get back on track. Petrucci could only watch as he dropped to 18th.
Garrett Gerloff may have finished 19th but he set the session alight with his performance, excited by the opportunity handed to him in Valentino Rossi’s absence while waiting for a second negative Covid-19 test, he made the most of it. As high as fifth in the early stages he was competitive and not far off the lead pace of Miller, finishing just over 1.5s off the top time at the close after an impressive string of laps on a new track for the American with unfamiliar equipment.
At the back of the pack was Bradley Smith’s replacement at Aprilia for the final three rounds; Lorenzo Savadori; who was three seconds adrift on his debut, with Tito Rabat unusually over four seconds off the pace at a track he knows extremely well in 21st.
Iker Lecuona is absent from the race weekend following his brother’s positive Covid test.