AUSTIN, Texas – Marc Marquez has been dominant in the United States in MotoGP competition, but Friday during practice at Circuit of the Americas Maverick Viñales fired a warning shot.
Viñales, riding for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, set the fastest time of the day during two practice sessions at COTA. Viñales topped the charts with a best time of 2:03.857, edging Marquez for the top spot by .044 of a second.
“I think today it was very important to work on the basic set-up, because in Argentina we misunderstood some things,” Viñales said. “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.
“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.”
Viñales teammate, Valentino Rossi, gave Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP two riders in the top-three positions by going third fastest Friday afternoon.
Jack Miller was next for Pramac Racing, with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow fifth fastest. Suzuki’s Alex Rins, Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro, Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo and Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia completed the top-10 Friday afternoon in Texas.