Marc Marquez's role in this year's title fight may not be over as the Honda rider set the pace in Valencia in FP1 ahead of Jorge Lorenzo while Valentino Rossi was P5.
With tension and controversy boiling over in the paddock, title rivals Lorenzo and Rossi had the opportunity to burn off some steam and some rubber as they took to the track.
The final weekend of the MotoGP season began at the Spanish track on Friday morning with all eyes on the Yamaha team-mates, who are separated by seven points in Rossi's favour, as well as out-going Champion Marquez.
Although the Honda rider is not in the hunt for the title, he is in the thick of it after his clash with Rossi in which the Italian kicked out at Marquez causing him to crash in Malaysia, which earned the Championship leader a back row start for the decider.
Marquez set the early pace as his 1:31.815 put him 0.236s up on Lorenzo while Dani Pedrosa, who has won two of the last three races, was third.
An improvement from Pedrosa pushed him to the top of the timesheeet before a 1:31.434 from Lorenzo edged the Honda rider by 0.119s. Rossi was up to fourth by the halfway mark.
Marquez made a late challenge to retake the top spot with a 1:31.250. That put him 0.184s up on Lorenzo while Pedrosa was third, 0.303s off the pace.
Andrea Dovizioso was another rider to put in a late flying lap, taking fourth place while Rossi was relegated to fifth. The Italian, though, was only 0.415 off Marquez's pace.
Pol Espargaro, despite riding with a neck injury, was sixth quickest on a morning when Maverick Vinales was the only faller. He crashed his Suzuki early in the session but was back on the bike later, finishing P16.
1 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1'31.250
2 Jorge LORENZO Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1'31.434 0.184
3 Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team 1'31.553 0.303
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 1'31.642 0.392
5 Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1'31.665 0.415
6 Pol ESPARGARO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'31.892 0.642
7 Andrea IANNONE Ducati Team 1'32.192 0.942
8 Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda 1'32.260 1.010
9 Aleix ESPARGARO Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1'32.359 1.109
10 Yonny HERNANDEZ Octo Pramac Racing 1'32.412 1.162
11 Stefan BRAD Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1'32.514 1.264
12 Danilo PETRUCCI Octo Pramac Racing 1'32.574 1.324
13 Michele PIRRO Ducati Team 1'32.724 1.474
14 Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1'32.725 1.475
15 Mike DI MEGLIO Avintia Racing 1'32.797 1.547
16 Maverick VIÑALES Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1'32.801 1.551
17 Bradley SMITH Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'32.841 1.591
18 Hector BARBERA Avintia Racing 1'32.927 1.677
19 Nicky HAYDEN Aspar MotoGP Team 1'32.978 1.728
20 Jack MILLER LCR Honda 1'33.049 1.799
21 Eugene LAVERTY Aspar MotoGP Team 1'33.097 1.847
22 Scott REDDING EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1'33.143 1.893
23 Loris BAZ Forward Racing 1'33.211 1.961
24 Toni ELIAS Forward Racing 1'33.657 2.407
25 Anthony WEST AB Motoracing 1'33.837 2.587
26 Broc PARKES E-Motion IodaRacing Team 1'35.290 4.040