until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Aprilia heads depleted MotoGP field with 1-2 in first practice

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Maverick Vinales comfortably led an Aprilia 1-2 in the first practice session of the Argentina MotoGP weekend, with points leader Pecco Bagnaia only 10th and Fabio Quartararo only 15th.

Key moments:

> Vinales three tenths clear

> Martin best of the Ducatis

> Nakagami shines for Honda, Morbidelli impresses for Yamaha

> KTM/Gas Gas headed by rookie Fernandez

> Minor crash for Rins

The anticipated threat of rain throughout the weekend – in fact, it had already rained earlier in the day, but the track had dried in time for MotoGP action – combined with the Friday pressures of the new weekend format set up a late-session time attack that wasn’t normally seen in FP1 under the old format.

Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati) got the ball rolling with a 1m39.700s on a fresh medium rear, but it was Vinales who really maximised his new rubber, first jumping back ahead of Bezzecchi and then lowering the benchmark to a 1m39.207s.

That laptime remained well out of reach for the rest of the pack, albeit team-mate Aleix Espargaro – the only other MotoGP race winner at the venue competing in the premier class this weekend – did close to just within three tenths with his final attempt.

Vinales then appeared to either suffer a technical issue or simply run out of fuel at the end of the session.

The 1-2 is a promising sign for the Noale factory, at the track where it celebrated the first and so far only win of the current iteration of its MotoGP programme last year.

Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin was third, ahead of the lead of the three Hondas – LCR rider Takaaki Nakagami. Gresini Ducati’s Alex Marquez completed the top five.

Under-pressure Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli had a generally impressive session, perhaps thriving in the relatively low grip of a ‘green’ circuit as he spent most of the 45 minutes out front, albeit eventually ending up only eighth. This was still, however, seven places and four tenths up on team-mate Quartararo.

Championship leader Pecco Bagnaia was 10th, the sixth-fastest of the seven Ducati riders.

Nakagami’s LCR team-mate Alex Rins, in possession of a new chassis handed down to him from the garage of the absent Marc Marquez this weekend, crashed said chassis at Turn 1 midway through the session, but recovered to finish 11th.

There were curious scenes in the KTM/Gas Gas camp, where rookie Augusto Fernandez was its quickest representative throughout the session and ended up as such in the classification courtesy of the 13th-fastest time.

Should rain arrive in time for FP2, the times from FP1 could end up determining the 10 riders heading straight to Q2 instead of having to contest Q1 on Saturday morning.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Team Bike Gap Next Gap Leader Best Time
1 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Aprilia 1m39.207s
2 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Aprilia +0.284s +0.284s 1m39.491s
3 Jorge Martin Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +0.017s +0.301s 1m39.508s
4 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +0.075s +0.376s 1m39.583s
5 Alex Marquez Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +0.027s +0.403s 1m39.61s
6 Johann Zarco Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +0.018s +0.421s 1m39.628s
7 Luca Marini Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +0.005s +0.426s 1m39.633s
8 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.063s +0.489s 1m39.696s
9 Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +0.004s +0.493s 1m39.7s
10 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +0.051s +0.544s 1m39.751s
11 Alex Rins LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +0.051s +0.595s 1m39.802s
12 Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +0.124s +0.719s 1m39.926s
13 Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM +0.068s +0.787s 1m39.994s
14 Jack Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.043s +0.83s 1m40.037s
15 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.079s +0.909s 1m40.116s
16 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.148s +1.057s 1m40.264s
17 Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia +0.072s +1.129s 1m40.336s
18 Joan Mir Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.329s +1.458s 1m40.665s
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