Maverick Vinales fired a warning shot to rivals as the 2017 British Grand Prix got underway with the Movistar Yamaha rider lapping half a second quicker than anyone else in the opening free practice session.
With blue skies ahead, Vinales left it late to take the top spot, stealing it from Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo in the dying moments of the session with a time of 2’02.130.
Behind Vinales things were close, with Lorenzo taking the second spot ahead of Britain’s Cal Crutchlow, who twice occupied the top of the timesheets on the newly-liveried Castrol LCR Honda.
Series leader Marc Marquez was fourth quickest, 0.7 second off Vinales’ time while the second Yamaha of Valentino Rossi placed fifth.
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Alvaro Bautista rounded out the top six ahead of Johann Zarco and leading Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro.
Scott Redding was ninth quickest ahead of winner last time out Andrea Dovizioso, who, while being ust 0.001 off Redding’s time, was over a second slower than Vinales and 0.7 off team-mate Lorenzo.
It wasn’t a great opening session for Dani Pedrosa either with the second Repsol Honda rounding out the session 14th quickest behind the KTM of Pol Espargaro, who was over a second faster than struggling team-mate Bradley Smith.
Sam Lowes’ first home Grand Prix in the MotoGP class didn’t get off to the best of starts as he crashed out at Turn 12 early in the session.
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