As expected, the track is taking a while to clean up. Marc Marquez went nearly six seconds a lap quicker this afternoon than he did in the morning. Mind you, in the first session he came out of the pits and destroyed a tyre in three laps; it looked like he was enjoying himself. The track was so green that Andrea Dovizioso reckoned the grip was so low that no traction-control system yet invented would have been any help. More worryingly, he wasn't totally convinced that the track's problems were all to do with the dust; Dovi thought it might just be low grip tarmac. And then his bike blew a motor this afternoon.
Meanwhile a big crowd is assembling. Rio Hondo is a long way from anywhere but the enormous campsites around the track are filling with a variety of mopeds, vintage Mercedes buses that look like they have just arrived from Woodstock, and quite a lot of more recent motorcycles. All in a beautifully unorganized yet not quite chaotic swirl of Latin American sights, sounds and smells: horse-drawn carts next to a Gold Wing with plates showing it's come from Paraguay, general disregard for traffic laws especially at junctions, eight different varieties of police, and a small town completely thrilled about having the race here. Local hero Sebas Porto, out of retirement for a Moto2 wild card, cannot walk a yard without being accosted for a photo; Rossi and Marquez have found out it's difficult for them to leave their hotels; the start of practice was delayed by half the marshals turning up late.
Sure the Wi-fi is a bit flaky, the paint is still wet in a few places, and some of the organization could improve, but this has the makings of a great event.