Spain's Marc Marquez steers his Honda. Photo: Antonio Calanni/AP

Defending world champion Marc Marquez of Honda hit overdrive Friday, dominating free practice at the redesigned Montmelo track at the Catalunya MotoGP as a raft of his rivals struggled.

The Spaniard has won just one of six MotoGPs so far this season but set his fans a pacey marker following his safely played sixth place finish at the Italian GP last weekend.

The Montmelo track has been redesigned after the death last year here of Luis Salom in the Moto2, and the riders also had to deal with rain in the morning session.

Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo was second fastest at 0.405sec with German rookie Jonas Folger of Yamaha third 0.544sec.

Winner at Mugello last Sunday and second in the world standings Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati was fourth fastest at 0.588.

Still feeling the pain from a motorcross crash two weeks ago, Italian superstar Valentino Rossi was way down in 10th at 0.823 as his Yamaha teammate and championship leader Maverick Vinales was way off the pace, 1.5sec down in 16th.

On Saturday there is a third practice session ahead of qualifying in the afternoon.