Maverick Viñales has not just picked up where he left off during testing, but picked it up a notch as well. The Movistar Yamaha rider led for most of the session, only relinquishing top spot for a few minutes towards the end of the session as the other riders started chasing a fast lap. But as the final minutes ticked away, Viñales laid down a couple of punishing laps, to seize control of the session. His fastest lap wa sa 1'54.319, a hundredth of a second faster than his best lap at the test in Qatar two weeks ago.
Marc Marquez was forced to settle for second, his best lap nearly six tenths slower than Viñales, though his pace was much closer to the Yamaha rider's. Marquez finished three tenths ahead of his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, the Spanish veteran clearly invigorated over the off season.
Jonas Folger has been the revelation of the off season, and he has carried that speed into the first session of practice. Folger finished the session in fourth, four tenths behind Pedrosa, and a fraction of a second ahead of Jorge Lorenzo on the Ducati. Loris Baz pushed for a quick lap at the very end, jumping up to sixth place, just ahead of Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda. Crutchlow had a difficult start to the season, forced to pull over at the start after oil appeared on his boot, then appearing to suffer something similar towards the end.
Johann Zarco took eighth in the session, joining his Tech 3 teammate in the top ten, and ending just seven thousandths ahead of Valentino Rossi in ninth. Rossi had a tough start, struggling to find some pace and only getting into the top ten at the very end. Aleix Espargaro rounds out the top ten on the Aprilia.