Rins, who is the only MotoGP rider to win around COTA in all three classes, had to recover from an early technical issue as he topped FP1 by just -0.008s from the Aprilia rider.

With track conditions a big talking point in 2021, especially turns 2 and 10 due to extremely harsh bumps, FP1 saw riders looking much more comfortable following the resurfacing. 

However, one rider who didn’t enjoy a comfortable start was Pol Espargaro as the Repsol Honda rider suffered a bizarre crash at turn 18. 

At the top of the timingsheets it was Marquez who led the way early on, but not the one many would have expected. 

Alex initially went quickest for LCR Honda before Fabio Quartararo put his M1 Yamaha into first place.

Then came the turn of Marc Marquez to show his pace as the eight-time world champion went close to seven tenths clear of the reigning world champion. However, Marquez quickly found himself dropped back to P19 after having his time deleted due to exceeding track limits. 

Not to be denied, Marquez came back with an even better lap as he set a time of 2:04.469s which was eight tenths clear of Suzuki’s Alex Rins. 

Maverick Vinales and Quartararo managed to split the two Spaniards, but Marquez held on to top spot by -0.247s. 

Taking tips on how to ride the Circuit of the Americas from his brother perhaps; Alex remained inside the top five in what was quickly turning out to be his best FP1 of the year. 

Following his early mishap and consequent loss of track time, Espargaro stayed out when many pitted in order to build up confidence.

But just like the start of the session, Espargaro was looking very loose, as was Quartararo who had a big wobble on the entry to turn ten. 

Moments later and there was drama for Rins as his GSX-RR lost power just before the back-straight. 

Rins pulled off-track before being assisted back to the pits without his machine. 

Not the first, and certainly won’t be the last this weekend, Marquez ran wide on the entry to turn ten after getting all crossed up under braking. 

Watch out! Aprilia are feeling it again...

Race winner last time out, Aleix Espargaro reinforced the belief that he can challenge at most circuits after leaping up from P12 to fourth. 

Espargaro suffered one of his worst weekends as a MotoGP rider in Austin last October - crashed five times - however, early signs point to a much better showing from the championship leader.

Hammering home the notion that Aprilia are here to stay, Vinales went quickest out of nowhere. A time of 2:04.373s was set by Vinales.  

Suzuki then began to show their hand as Joan Mir went fourth, replacing Espargaro, before Rins relegated team-mate Mir down to fifth. 

As times continued to heat up, Rins and Quartararo went second and third, meaning the top four were all within a tenth. 

Rins then went quickest as his stunning run of laps continued for the Japanese manufacturer.

Rins and Vinales continued to battle for top spot all the way until the checkered flag, as the latter came across the line +0.008s down. 

Behind the top two were Miller (P3), Quartararo in fourth and seven-time winner around COTA M. Marquez. 

Fuel problems around the second longest circuit on the calendar.

While it was a great first session back for Marquez, his team-mate endured a disastrous FP1 after his RC213V ran out of fuel at the end. 

Another rider who ran out of fuel after the flag was Pramac Ducati rider Johann Zarco, who luckily for the Frenchman, was aided back by Jack Miller.