Alex Rins outruns Maverick Vinales to take the lead in the first America MotoGP practice session.
Rins, the only MotoGP rider to win in all three classes at COTA, overcame an early mechanical setback to win FP1 by just 0.008s over the Aprilia rider.
With track conditions a major discussion topic in 2021, particularly turns 2 and 10 due to extremely hard bumps, riders appeared to be much more at ease in FP1.
Pol Espargaro, however, did not have a smooth start, as the Repsol Honda rider was involved in a bizarre crash at turn 18. Earlier on, it was Marquez who led the way at the top of the time sheets, but not in the way that many would have predicted.
Alex was the fastest for LCR Honda at first, but Fabio Quartararo took the lead with his M1 Yamaha.
Then it was Marc Marquez’s turn to display his speed, as the eight-time world champion pulled away from the reigning world champion by nearly seven tenths. Marquez, on the other hand, was promptly demoted to P19 after his time was removed owing to breaching track limits.
Marquez later responded with an even faster lap, setting a timing of 2:04.469s, eight tenths faster than Suzuki’s Alex Rins.
Although Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo were able to split the two Spaniards, Marquez was able to hold on to the lead by -0.247s.
Alex stayed in the top five in what was quickly turning out to be his finest FP1 of the year, possibly because to advice from his brother on how to ride the Circuit of the Americas.
Espargaro sat out when many others pitted following his early mishap and resulting loss of track time in attempt to regain confidence. But, like at the start of the session, Espargaro and Quartararo, who had a considerable lead, appeared to be quite loose.
Espargaro, like the rest of the field at the start of the practice, appeared shaky, as did Quartararo, who suffered a massive wobble on the entry to turn 10.
Rins’ GSX-RR lost power shortly before the back-straight a few moments later, causing controversy. Rins went off the track and had to be helped back to the pits without his car. Marquez ran wide on the entry to turn 10 after getting all messed up under braking, and it won’t be the last time this weekend.
Aleix Espargaro jumped from P12 to fourth after winning the race last time out, reaffirming his view that he can compete on most tracks.
Espargaro had one of his worst weekends as a MotoGP rider last October in Austin, when he crashed five times; however, early indications point to a far better performance from the title leader this time around.
Vinales came out of nowhere to hammer home the point that Aprilia is here to stay. Vinales established a new personal best of 2:04.373s.
Suzuki then began to reveal their hand by promoting Joan Mir to fourth place, replacing Espargaro, before relegating teammate Mir to fifth place by Rins. As the session progressed, Rins and Quartararo finished second and third, respectively, bringing the top four to within a tenth of a second.
Rins then set the fastest time as the Japanese manufacturer’s incredible run of laps continued. Rins and Vinales battled for first place all the way to the finish line, with the latter coming across the line +0.008s down. Miller (P3) was third, followed by Quartararo in fourth, and COTA M. Marquez, a seven-time champion.
While Marquez had a fantastic first session back, his teammate had a horrible FP1 when his RC213V ran out of gasoline near the end.
Johann Zarco of Pramac Ducati was another rider who ran out of fuel after the flag, but was luckily helped back by Jack Miller.
AUSTIN MOTOGP, COTA – FREE PRACTICE (1) RESULTS
|1||Alex Rins||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||2’04.007s||14/14||346k|
|2||Maverick Viñales||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+0.008s||15/15||342k|
|3||Jack Miller||AUS||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||+0.430s||16/18||351k|
|4||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.443s||14/17||336k|
|5||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+0.462s||6/17||346k|
|6||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+0.574s||13/15||343k|
|7||Enea Bastianini||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)||+0.587s||12/15||346k|
|8||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+0.679s||14/16||344k|
|9||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+0.737s||14/18||345k|
|10||Johann Zarco||FRA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||+0.886s||16/17||344k|
|11||Joan Mir||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+0.893s||12/16||343k|
|12||Brad Binder||RSA||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+0.976s||17/17||347k|
|13||Francesco Bagnaia||ITA||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||+0.996s||16/17||342k|
|14||Jorge Martin||SPA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||+1.043s||15/16||341k|
|15||Alex Marquez||SPA||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+1.139s||8/18||346k|
|16||Luca Marini||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)||+1.170s||16/17||340k|
|17||Franco Morbidelli||ITA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+1.280s||14/14||334k|
|18||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)||+1.317s||8/15||340k|
|19||Raul Fernandez||SPA||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||+1.319s||13/14||341k|
|20||Marco Bezzecchi||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP21)*||+1.379s||16/16||344k|
|21||Remy Gardner||AUS||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||+1.665s||14/15||342k|
|22||Darryn Binder||RSA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)*||+2.191s||16/16||343k|
|23||Miguel Oliveira||POR||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+2.438s||14/15||338k|
|24||Fabio Di Giannantonio||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)*||+2.490s||14/16||339k|