Under perfect conditions Thursday during the first opening MotoGP practice at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Vinales struck first.The 22-year-old Spaniard who has dominated so far in 2017 MotoGP, winning the opening two rounds from the pole in Qatar and Argentina, posted a quickest time of 2:04.923 around the 20-corner COTA track.
As expected, the battle was between Vinales and Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, the three-time MotoGP Champion who has won every premier-class race held at COTA since the track joined the World Championship in 2013.But it wasn’t that much of a battle between the two Spaniards as the opening free practice is basically a shakedown sessions. Marquez would finish 0.577 of second behind Vinales. Completing the top three was Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, the GP17 rider who has set the fastest speed at COTA of over 214 mph. He finished 0.681 of a second behind Vinales.“It’s my first time here at COTA with the Yamaha M1 and I felt great, the bike is working so good,” Vinales said after FP1. “We still have to work on the electronics but we are happy with the set-up. The bike is working at 100%. Of course we still have to work hard, especially in preparation for the last laps of the race, but I’m happy and confident. I’m sure that we can do a really good weekend.”Marquez also commented: “Today I felt quite good on the bike. We did two long runs with the two bikes set up differently, one with a setup similar to what we used in Argentina and another very different in order to understand which works better for this track this weekend.“Overall, the feeling wasn’t so bad; I think we did a good job on used tires and we found a good pace, though we have a margin for improvement, especially on the electronic side. The circuit has changed a lot from last year, as it’s now very bumpy. This afternoon we’ll try another tire and we’ll work more on the bike’s setup, also looking to cope with the bumps better.”The rookie Johann Zarco on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 followed in fourth, 0.867 of a second off the pace, just ahead of Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista. The Independent Team rider Bautista was the final rider to post within a second of Vinales, finishing 0.910 of a second behind.As for Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo, he finished sixth, 1.094 seconds behind. Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi was eight quickest, 1.369 seconds behind Vinales.There was one crash. LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow tumbled at turn six, but walked away unharmed. Also, Red Bull Factor Racing’s Pol Espargaro had a scary moment when his rear wheel kicked out, but he stopped safely in the run-off area.Stay clicked to Ultimate Motorcycling for Friday’s second free practice ahead of 2017 Austin MotoGP.
Our first segment introduces you to the new Arch 1s. This latest, slightly more sporting American V-twin, adds to the original KRGT1 coming from the boutique manufacturer based in Hawthorne, Southern California. Senior Editor Nic de Sena rode through Malibu with Gard Hollinger, who co-founded Arch Motorcycle with his friend, Keanu Reeves. The 1s is a unique ride for sure, and Nic explains what makes the bike really stand out.
For the entertaining story behind Arch Motorcycle from Gard Hollinger himself, you must listen to his podcast episode on Motos & Friends HERE
The guest segment of Motos and Friends is brought to you by the faster and most technologically advanced, 2023 Suzuki Hayabusa—visit your local dealer or suzukicycles.com to learn more.
In our second segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with multiple Emmy award-winning writer, Producer, Director, and actor, Thom Beers. the former Chairman & CEO of Fremantle Media North America, responsible for American Idol and America’s Got Talent.
Thom’s fertile imagination led to most of the really big reality TV shows such as ‘Deadliest Catch’ (now in its 17th season!), and many others. Of course for us in the motorcycle world, you’ll be interested to hear the genesis and story of how he started the first real fabrication reality show ‘Monster Garage’, that showcased Jesse James, and then how that led to ‘Biker Build Off’ and the ‘Zombie Choppers’ movie.
You’d imagine that most of Thom’s time is spent sitting behind a desk and on his phone. Not so. His intense stories of capturing much of the content for these shows make for some hair-raising listening.