Maverick Vinales took the first step in his effort to rewrite history at the Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas, with a fast lap that put him more than half a second clear of the the number two rider in Friday's first free practice. And that number two rider? The man who has won four previous races he has entered at the 5.5 kilometer (3.4 mile) track: Marc Marquez.
Vinales' 2'04.923, set with 12 minutes remaining in the 45-minute session, left him slightly more than five-tenths of a second clear of Marquez, who led practice early on. The top spot in FP1 is no small feat for the Yamaha factory team rider who has won the first two races of the 2017 season; Marquez has not only dominated all four MotoGP races here, he has led nearly every practice session as well and still owns the circuit record.
Andrea Dovizioso, who was taken out of last year's contest by another rider while in third place, finished the session as third-fastest, six-tenths of a second behind the leader. Johann Zarco, the MotoGP rookie who would be the lead story of the 2017 season if not for Vinales' early dominance, finished as fourth-fastest after climbing as high as third. Alvaro Bautista used a final fast lap with no time remaining to leap into fifth, dropping Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo (6th) one place.
Dani Pedrosa, the rider who took out Dovizioso in 2016, finished the session in seventh 1.1 seconds behind Vinales. Valentino Rossi, on the podium for the first two races of the year, found some speed late in the session to eventually settle in to eighth. Aleix Espargaro (9th) and Danilo Petrucci (10th) rounded out the top 10 as temperatures climbed on the dry track.
|Pos.||No.||Rider||Bike||Time||Diff. / Prev.|
|2||93||Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||2'05.500||0.577 / 0.577|
|3||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||2'05.604||0.681 / 0.104|
|4||5||Johann ZARCO||Yamaha||2'05.790||0.867 / 0.186|
|5||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||Ducati||2'05.833||0.910 / 0.043|
|6||99||Jorge LORENZO||Ducati||2'06.017||1.094 / 0.184|
|7||26||Dani PEDROSA||Honda||2'06.109||1.186 / 0.092|
|8||46||Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||2'06.292||1.369 / 0.183|
|9||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||Aprilia||2'06.411||1.488 / 0.119|
|10||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati||2'06.469||1.546 / 0.058|
|11||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||2'06.484||1.561 / 0.015|
|12||43||Jack MILLER||Honda||2'06.515||1.592 / 0.031|
|13||45||Scott REDDING||Ducati||2'06.646||1.723 / 0.131|
|14||94||Jonas FOLGER||Yamaha||2'06.692||1.769 / 0.046|
|15||8||Hector BARBERA||Ducati||2'06.786||1.863 / 0.094|
|16||29||Andrea IANNONE||Suzuki||2'06.824||1.901 / 0.038|
|17||53||Tito RABAT||Honda||2'06.894||1.971 / 0.070|
|18||76||Loris BAZ||Ducati||2'07.127||2.204 / 0.233|
|19||17||Karel ABRAHAM||Ducati||2'07.300||2.377 / 0.173|
|20||42||Alex RINS||Suzuki||2'08.006||3.083 / 0.706|
|21||44||Pol ESPARGARO||KTM||2'08.128||3.205 / 0.122|
|22||22||Sam LOWES||Aprilia||2'08.292||3.369 / 0.164|
|23||38||Bradley SMITH||KTM||2'08.740||3.817 / 0.448|