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Marc Marquez’s domination of the Circuit of the Americas came under threat on the first day of practice, in a hectic end as riders scrambled to secure a top ten finish, against the forecast of bad weather tomorrow.

But the threat to the Repsol Honda rider’s superiority was narrow enough … with Monster Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales’s time of 2m 3.857s a mere 0.044 of a second inside his best time.

Marquez had moved back in between the factory Yamahas with his own final lap, with Valentino Rossi third fastest, one tenth down on the Honda. Title leader Marquez has never been beaten at the Texan circuit, and is aiming for his 13th straight win (in two classes and at three circuits) on US soil.

The arrival of the Yamahas in the closing laps displaced Jack Miller (Pramac Ducati) from the top three. He had followed Marquez to set an erstwhile fastest lap, but was dropped to a close fourth by the finish.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was fifth; then Alex Rins (Ecstar Suzuki) overcame the one-lap bogey that plagued him in Argentina, placed sixth.

Another impressive run put Pol Espargaro’s Red Bull KTM an unaccustomed seventh, while Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) pushed through into eighth, ahead of top rookie team-mate Fabio Quartararo, in the closing stages.

Yet another fast rookie, Pecco Bagnaia (Pramac Ducati) ended up tenth, pushing factory Mission Winnow riders Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci to a disappointed eleventh and 13th, sandwiching Joan Mir’s Ecstar Suzuki. Both will be hoping forecasts of dire weather tomorrow do not come true.

Mir was the last rider within one second of Vinales – an impressive top dozen at a long track with a lap time of more than two minutes.

Jorge Lorenzo’s difficult start on the Repsol Honda continued, the Spaniard placed 16th; ditto for new Red Bull KTM rider Johann Zarco, who was 17th.


Dynavolt Kalex team-mates Marcel Schrotter and Tom Luthi took control of a Kalex-dominated Moto2 practice, with the new Triumph engines putting them within just over one second of the track’s best Moto2 lap, in spite of low grip.

Kalex chassis took all but two of the potentially vital top 14 spots – to go straight through into Q2 should tomorrow morning be wet. The interlopers were a pair of Speed Up chassis, with class rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio seventh and team-mate Jorge Navarro ninth.

The best KTM was a disappointing 15th – the factory Red Bull bike ridden by Brad Binder.

Only the top ten riders were within one second of Schrotter’s 1m 9.982s, a wider spread than MotoGP.

Alex Marquez (EG-VDS Kalex) was third, with Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Kalex) pushing through to fourth at the end, ahead of former CotA winner Sam Lowes (Federal Oils Kalex) and double 2019 winner Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP40 Kalex) in sixth.

Impressively sandwiched between the Speed Ups in eighth was veteran Mattia Pasini (Flexbox HP40 Kalex), in his first ride of the year, and his first on the new Triumph Moto2 bikes. Pasini was replacing injured Augusto Fernandez.

Argentine podium finisher Remy Gardner (ONEXOX Kalex) completed the top ten.

Joe Roberts (Team American Racing KTM) was 21st.


In Moto3, returnee Romano Fenati (Snipers Honda) took an advantage of almost three tenths over a quartet of Hondas – but the 2016 and 2017 CotA winner was himself two seconds off the track’s best time, set last year by Aron Canet.

Fenati, his career rescued after his suspension from Moto2 last year for dangerous riding, dominated an afternoon session where times were already dropping fast after a dusty start to the day.

Leading the close-packed pursuit were SIC58 team-mates Tatsuki Suzuki and Niccolo Antonelli; then Leopard Racing’s Lorenzo Dalla Porta and second snipers rider tony Arbolino, before Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max team) on the top KTM.

The top ten was completed by Kornfeil (KTM), Rodrigo (Honda), Sasaki (Honda) and Migno (KTM); with Argentine race winner Jaume Masia and runner up Darryn Binder (both KTM) 15th and16th, potentially out of the crucial top 14 going straight into Q2, should the weather be wet tomorrow morning.

By Michael Scott

Photos GnG