until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


All you need to know about first Austin MotoGP practice

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Aprilia rider Maverick Vinales set the pace in the opening MotoGP practice at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, as pre-weekend favourite Marc Marquez made a relatively impressive start.

Key moments

- Vinales continues strong Portimao form
- Rookie Acosta impressive in third
- Bastianini and Marquez impress on used rubber

COTA master Marquez, who has six premier-class wins at the venue, was five seconds off after his opening run but hit the front of the timesheets 25 minutes into the 45-minute session.

He was shuffled down to eighth by the end, but it was a deceptive eighth as he had not swapped to a fresh medium rear.

Vinales, running a Batman tribute helmet this weekend, did swap to a fresh medium rear, but was anyway super-fast through virtually all the session.

He wound up on a 2m03.294s in the end, a laptime half a tenth slower what Luca Marini had set to top the corresponding session last year.

COTA has been repaved partially in between MotoGP's two visits, but the 2023 laptime was artificially inflated by the format still in place at that point - which used combined Friday times (rather than just the second session) to determine direct passage to Q2 and thus encouraged running the soft rear tyre in first practice.

Pramac Ducati rider Jorge Martin was Vinales' nearest rival, a tenth and a half off.

Tech3 Gas Gas rookie Pedro Acosta was another tenth and a half back in third, with virtually all of his time loss to Vinales taking place in the final sector - which was also true for Martin.

Ducati works rider Enea Bastianini, who won this race in 2022 when Marquez had an issue at the start, was fourth but was listed as having been on the used tyre late on - which, if accurate, suggests he has had the strongest start to the weekend.

VR46 Ducati duo Marco Bezzecchi and Fabio Di Giannantonio tried the soft rear and were fifth and 10th as a result respectively as a result - with Brad Binder (KTM), Franco Morbidelli (Pramac Ducati), Marquez and Jack Miller (KTM) slotting in behind them.

It meant there were three riders in the top 10 in Bastianini, Marquez and Miller who did not use a fresh rear tyre to move up in the closing stages. Bastianini's team-mate Pecco Bagnaia also stayed with the same rear tyre and was 11th.

Last year's winner Alex Rins was 13th in his first COTA session as a Yamaha rider, 0.006s up on newly-re-signed team-mate Fabio Quartararo.

There was a single crash during the session - a slow tip-off from Alex Marquez, after which he duly remounted his Gresini-run Ducati and continued to take part.

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