It was business as usual for new MotoGP wonderkid Maverick Vinales, but his main rivals all struggled in Friday’s first practice session in Argentina.
Vinales comfortably topped the timesheets, but with Termas de Rio Hondo circuit requiring several sessions to reach optimum levels of grip, several big names appeared reluctant to take any serious risks so early in the weekend.
Defending world champion Marc Marquez finished down in 11th place, but that was still better than Jorge Lorenzo (15th), Valentino Rossi (16th) and Dani Pedrosa (19th).
Surprisingly, seven of the top ten places were occupied by satellite machines.
Vinales did not have it all his own way, however. He suffered a wobble through the final chicane early in the session, which set off the airbag within his leathers.
— Maverick Viñales (@maverickmack25) April 7, 2017
But he recovered superbly from there, improving his speed as the session progressed and eventually posting his quickest time of 1m 40.356s. Impressively, he set the time on the harder rear tyre compound.
Danilo Petrucci was second for Ducati, 0.206s back, while the Tech 3 duo of Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger continued to excel as they claimed third and fourth respectively.
Karel Abraham also surprised to claim fifth, while Andrea Iannone continued to put his pre-season troubles behind him to round out the top six.