Maverick Vinales fastest in FP1 as Pedro Acosta shines again at COTA

Maverick Vinales leads the way in the opening MotoGP practice at COTA.

Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Portuguese MotoGP, 24 March
Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Portuguese MotoGP, 24 March

During the early stages of Free Practice 1 it was MotoGP rookie Pedro Acosta who put his KTM on top.

Acosta soon lost top spot to Maverick Vinales who was showing consistent speed aboard his factory Aprilia machine.

Vinales was the first rider to break under the 2m 6s barrier before 2023 COTA winner Alex Rins went quickest.

Lap times continued to fall but it was again Vinales who led the way as he dipped underneath the 2m 5s barrier, to lead Francesco Bagnaia.

Following an early mistake, Marc Marquez returned to pit lane to make changes to his GP23 bike.

Marquez re-joined the action in last place, 4.8 seconds down on Vinales’ top time of 2:04.575s.

Alex Marquez crashed shortly after at turn 12, becoming the first MotoGp rider to do so this weekend.

At the front, KTM began showing their potential as Jack Miller and Brad Binder moved up to second and third place.

The next rider who came close to a fall was championship leader Jorge Martin as the Pramac rider produced a front-end save at turn 19.

Martin quickly put that moment behind him as he went quickest ahead of Marco Bezzecchi and Vinales, both of whom improved their lap times.

With a third of the session remaining there was yet more change at the top as Jack Miller went quickest thanks to a time of 2:04.210s.

Franco Morbidelli made a good start to FP1 as he briefly moved up to second, however, that soon became fourth as Acosta broke into the 2m 3s barrier.

Marc Marquez then joined the KTM rookie in taking a big chunk of time out of his previous best.

Not to be denied, Vinales went back to the top with a few minutes remaining, before finding even more time on his final lap.

Martin threatened to overhaul the Aprilia rider, as did Acosta, but Vinales held strong thanks to a very good final sector.

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