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Vinales dethrones Marquez on Day 1 at Americas MotoGP

Maverick Vinales

Austin, April 13: Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) upset the odds on Day 1 at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, ending at the top of the timesheets to depose six-time Circuit of the Americas (COTA) winner Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).

Vinales stalked the reigning champion's laptimes throughout the day and by the end of action his 2:03.857 was just enough to pull 0.044 clear. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completed the top three, with just 0.146 splitting the trio. Top Independent Team rider Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) was incredibly close, however - only another 0.002 in arrears in P4.

After a cat and mouse FP1 between Marquez and Vinales, action really heated up with 11 minutes to go in FP2. The weather forecast looks like it could well worsen, meaning Friday's times could decide direct entry to Q2 if conditions don't allow riders to improve in the third practice session of the weekend on Saturday morning. The stage was therefore set for a serious time attack on Friday - and one that Vinales topped.

Rossi ride!

Rossi ride!

Rossi was the first big improver; ‘The Doctor' jumping up to P2 from P9 to put himself 0.105 off leader Marquez, before it was red sectors galore on the timing screens as FP2 entered the final seven minutes.

Miller was shadowing Marquez and initially it was the Ducati man who took top spot as the pair crossed the line exchanging fastest laps.

Marquez moment

Marquez moment

But it wouldn't last long as Vinales took over at the top, going quicker by over a tenth.

After that benchmark was laid down, it looked like Marquez would go back to the top but a moment for the reigning champion kept him in P2.

Miller stays close

Miller stays close

Miller (Pramac Racing) was incredibly close, however - only another 0.002 in arrears in P4. He still emerged as the top independent rider though.

Will the weather hold on Saturday and give us an almighty fight in FP3 for a place in Q2? Or have the cards been played until Q1 and qualifying?

Hayden Hill

Hayden Hill

Meanwhile, another incredible tribute to the 'Kentucky Kid' took place as the MotoGP paddock gathered on 'Hayden Hill' at Turn 18 for a historic photo opportunity.

The tribute was the perfect finale for the day on which the number 69 was retired from the premier class of Grand Prix racing.

Earlier, an emotional ceremony took place to formally retire the number, with the room packed full of Hayden's family, fiancee, friends, former rivals and teammates to celebrate the life and career of the MotoGP legend.

 
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Story first published: Saturday, April 13, 2019, 12:20 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 13, 2019
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