Austin MotoGP: Vinales heads Marquez in opening practice

MotoGP points leader Maverick Vinales led the way in first practice for the GP of the Americas at Austin, heading nearest rival Marc Marquez by more than half a second.

After winning his opening two races with Yamaha in Qatar and Argentina, Vinales has set his sights on becoming the first rider other than Marquez to win at the Circuit of the Americas.

Marquez led the way after the first block of running, with a 2m05.535s lap, with Honda stablemates Cal Crutchlow - before a crash at Turn 6 - and Dani Pedrosa having also spent time at the top.

The Spaniard was 0.574 seconds clear of Pedrosa until he was pipped by Vinales, who turned a 2m05.462s with 15 minutes to go.

That put Vinales 0.073s ahead of Marquez, and he then set a 2m04.923s the next time around to go 0.612s clear.

Marquez improved again before the session was out, but only by less than a tenth, and Vinales finished with an advantage of 0.577s.

Ducati had a quiet session until the final five minutes, when Andrea Dovizioso jumped up from 12th to third, and Jorge Lorenzo from 16th to sixth.

Vinales’ Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi also climbed up the order from outside the top 10 in the closing stages, on soft tyres, and finished eighth.

Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco was the best of the rookies in fourth, while Alvaro Bautista pipped Lorenzo after the chequered flag to take fifth on his 2016-model Aspar Ducati, the last of the riders within a second of Vinales.

Pedrosa wound up seventh ahead of Rossi, while Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro and Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci completed the top 10 as LCR Honda rider Crutchlow slipped to 11th.

Andrea Iannone tried Suzuki’s winglet-replacement front fairing but finished the session down in 16th place, 1.901s off the pace, four spots ahead of rookie teammate Alex Rins.

Pol Espargaro was the best of the KTMs in 21st place, after saving a wild moment under braking at Turn 12 inside the final 10 minutes.

First practice results:

Pos.#RiderBikeTimeGap
1 25 spain Maverick Viñales  Yamaha 2'04.923  
2 93 spain Marc Marquez  Honda 2'05.500 0.577
3 4 italy Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati 2'05.604 0.681
4 5 france Johann Zarco  Yamaha 2'05.790 0.867
5 19 spain Alvaro Bautista  Ducati 2'05.833 0.910
6 99 spain Jorge Lorenzo  Ducati 2'06.017 1.094
7 26 spain Dani Pedrosa  Honda 2'06.109 1.186
8 46 italy Valentino Rossi  Yamaha 2'06.292 1.369
9 41 spain Aleix Espargaro  Aprilia 2'06.411 1.488
10 9 italy Danilo Petrucci  Ducati 2'06.469 1.546
11 35 united_kingdom Cal Crutchlow  Honda 2'06.484 1.561
12 43 australia Jack Miller  Honda 2'06.515 1.592
13 45 united_kingdom Scott Redding  Ducati 2'06.646 1.723
14 94 germany Jonas Folger  Yamaha 2'06.692 1.769
15 8 spain Hector Barbera  Ducati 2'06.786 1.863
16 29 italy Andrea Iannone  Suzuki 2'06.824 1.901
17 53 spain Tito Rabat  Honda 2'06.894 1.971
18 76 france Loris Baz  Ducati 2'07.127 2.204
19 17 czech_republic Karel Abraham  Ducati 2'07.300 2.377
20 42 spain Alex Rins  Suzuki 2'08.006 3.083
21 44 spain Pol Espargaro  KTM 2'08.128 3.205
22 22 united_kingdom Sam Lowes  Aprilia 2'08.292 3.369
23 38 united_kingdom Bradley Smith  KTM 2'08.740 3.817

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Event GP of the Americas
Track Circuit of the Americas
Drivers Maverick Viñales
Teams Yamaha Factory Racing
Article type Practice report