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MotoGP Catalunya: Late lap sends Vinales to the top of FP1

Racing in front of his home fans, Maverick Viñales opens up the Catalunya MotoGP by topping FP1; Jorge Lorenzo also looks in good shape.
Maverick Viñales gave the home fans something to shout about on a hot Friday morning in Montmeló as the Catalan narrowly topped MotoGP FP1 from Jorge Lorenzo.

Showing the benefits of a recent two-day test in Valencia, 21-year old Viñales' late time of 1m 42.065s was enough to send him to the top of the timesheets by 0.078s.

Until then, the session was dominated by Lorenzo, who enjoyed a healthy advantage of three quarters of a second over Valentino Rossi for the first half of the 45 minutes, before the Italian narrowed the margin down to just under four tenths of a second in the final 15 minutes.

Having announced his move to KTM for the 2017 season on Thursday, Pol Espargaro demonstrated the Yamaha M1's suitability to the Catalan track by placing fourth, 0.644s back of the leader.

The surprise of the morning came in the form of Yonny Hernandez, the Columbian finding a turn of pace to sit fifth overall, and the top Ducati mounted rider.

Andrea Iannone was sixth, with Marc Marquez the first of the Hondas in seventh. Marquez – currently second in the world championship – sat inside the top three until several riders shaved tenths off their lap times in the closing ten minutes.

Hector Barbera ended the morning eighth, a place ahead of Cal Crutchlow. Aleix Espargaro, whose future plans are the subject of intense speculation, completed the top ten.

Returning from a broken collarbone that sidelined him on the race day of the Italian grand prix, Tito Rabat (21st) was a faller at turn two, but thankfully without injury. Jack Miller (18th) was another crasher early into the session, as was Danilo Petrucci (17th).

1. Maverick Viñales
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Valentino Rossi
4. Pol Espargaro
5. Yonny Hernandez
6. Andrea Iannone
7. Marc Marquez
8. Hector Barbera
9. Cal Crutchlow
10. Aleix Espargaro
11. Alvaro Bautista
12. Scott Redding
13. Andrea Dovizioso
14. Dani Pedrosa
15. Eugene Laverty
16. Bradley Smith
17. Danilo Petrucci
18. Jack Miller
19. Stefan Bradl
20. Michele Pirro
21. Tito Rabat

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