Yamaha’s Vinales Tops Friday Practice (Austin MotoGP 2019)

2019 Austin MotoGP Friday Practice Maverick Vinales

2019 Austin MotoGP Friday Practice Results

When the first of two free practices finished Friday for the Grand Prix of Americas at Austin's Circuit of the Americas, Marc Marquez lead the way ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha's Maverick Vinales.

This was no surprise considering the Repsol Honda rider has won every race from pole since COTA joined the MotoGP series in 2013.

2019 Austin MotoGP Friday Practice Maverick Vinales

Yamaha's Maverick Vinales

But Vinales wouldn't settle for a slower time in free practice two. Regardless of dealing with some knee issues from a crash in Argentina two weeks ago, he topped the time sheets with a best lap of 2:03.857 seconds. To put this time into perspective, the lap record at the Texas F1 circuit is a 2:02.135 posted by Marquez in 2015.

When Friday ended, Vinales finished 0.044 of a second ahead of Marquez.

"I think today it was very important to work on the basic set-up, because in Argentina we misunderstood some things," Maverick Vinales says. "I think we worked quite well here today. I tried to be very competitive, especially on the first laps, but we still have to improve. We have to be more precise in the first laps and I need a little bit more grip, especially on the rear, because I still didn‘t feel that I‘m at my best.

"It's important to be at the top today, because I think tomorrow it‘s going to rain, and we need to start at the front. The track is very bumpy. It was funny, when I was pushing I made a big lateral slide, but honestly I was lucky I didn‘t make a big highside. For sure, I‘m expecting to be fast in qualifying. In Valencia I finished at the top in the wet. It‘s true that I also crashed, but I was one of the fastest on the track. I have a good feeling, and when you have a good feeling it doesn‘t matter what the conditions are like."

2019 Austin MotoGP Friday Practice Marc Marquez

Honda's Marc Marquez

Marquez also responded: "Today was not a straight forward day, the circuit has changed a lot since last year and it’s bumpy so we had to adapt to this. We also had some other areas to work on and some things to try to improve our pace.

"The rhythm and the pace is there so we are happy and we even tried the soft rear to get a good lap. Overall it was a productive day and we did what we needed to. Of course this weekend we also have Nicky Hayden in our minds, remembering a great champion."

2019 Austin MotoGP Friday Practice Valentino Rossi

Yamaha's Valentino Rossi

Claiming third quickest was the other factory Yamaha rider, Valentino Rossi, who finished 0.146 of a second behind Vinales, and a mere 0.002 ahead of the fastest Ducati rider, Pramac Racing's Jack Miller.

Fifth went to LCR Honda Castrol's Cal Crutchlow, who crossed the line 0.261 behind Vinales, and the final rider within three-tenths of the leader. Team Suzuki Ecstar's Alex Rins was sixth fastest (-0.496), and was followed 0.011 behind by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Pol Espargaro.

2019 Austin MotoGP Friday Practice Cal Crutchlow

Honda's Cal Crutchlow

Rounding out the top 10 were Petronas Yamaha SRT teammates Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo, and Pramac Racing Ducati Francesco Bagnaia.

The riders return to the 3.43-mile circuit Saturday for additional practice ahead of qualifying. For television times of qualifying and the race, visit 2019 MotoGP TV Schedule in America.

2019 Austin MotoGP Friday Practice Jack Miller

Ducati's Jack Miller

2019 Austin MotoGP Friday Practice Results (Combined)

Pos. Rider Time
1 Maverick Viñales 02'03.857
2 Marc Marquez 02'03.901
3 Valentino Rossi 02'04.003
4 Jack Miller 02'04.005
5 Cal Crutchlow 02'04.118
6 Alex Rins 02'04.353
7 Pol Espargaro 02'04.364
8 Franco Morbidelli 02'04.548
9 Fabio Quartararo 02'04.589
10 Francesco Bagnaia 02'04.630
11 Andrea Dovizioso 02'04.714
12 Joan Mir 02'04.851
13 Danilo Petrucci 02'04.906
14 Aleix Espargaro 02'04.953
15 Takaaki Nakagami 02'05.020


Photos by Ara Ashjian