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If MotoGP FP1 is to be believed, Maverick Viñales hasn’t given up hope in this title fight yet. The Spaniard sped to a sizeable advantage on Friday morning at Silverstone, leading by over half a second at the close of the 45 minutes.

The winner of this race a year ago, Viñales was in the running for the quickest time throughout the final 20 minutes of the session. Ultimately, his fitting of the soft rear tyre provided sufficient grip for the 22-year old to post a 2m 2.130s, 0.519s quicker than fellow Spaniard Lorenzo.

Both Movistar Yamaha men spoke of the benefits of a recent one-day test at Misano, where both Viñales and Valentino Rossi worked on the M1’s traction control settings, to increase the life of the rear tyre – an issue which proved costly in the last outing at Austria.

The leading Ducati’s presence inside the top two came late on. Before the final five minutes, neither Lorenzo of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso had featured in the top six with the 3.6-mile track’s series of quick changes of direction and considerable bumps proving a handful for the powerful GP17.

However, the Majorcan’s decision to fit a soft rear tyre pushed him toward second, a place ahead of home hero Cal Crutchlow, who showed the speed and pace to suggest he will once again be a player in Sunday’s events.

The Englishman was a place ahead of championship leader Marc Marquez, who had made the early running in the session’s first half while experimenting with Michelin’s soft rear tyre. Rossi, who won here in a thrilling wet race in 2015, was fifth fastest, 0.8s back of his team-mate.

Alvaro Bautista, celebrating his 250th grand prix this weekend, was an encouraging sixth fastest, ahead of Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco (seventh) and Aleix Espargaro (eighth). Scott Redding started his home GP positively with the ninth quickest time, Andrea Dovizioso was tenth.

Sam Lowes [23rd] was the session’s only faller, the Englishman losing the front on the bumps through Farm Curve. Danilo Petrucci’s [19th] GP17 stopped toward the end of the session with mechanical issues.


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