Maverick Vinales set the pace for Suzuki in first practice ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The Spaniard outpaced pre-weekend favourites Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez with the latter blotting his copybook with a crash midway through the session.
Marquez topped the timesheets at the end of the first run but the British fans soon had something to cheer about as Scott Redding leapt to the top of the leaderboard on his Pramac Ducati. The loss of the fastest time wouldn’t have bothered Marquez but a fall at turn twelve certainly did as the championship leader lost he front end of his Honda RC213V at high speed. The Spaniard was uninjured but his weekend hadn’t got off to an auspicious start.
In his temporary absence, Redding was challenged by another pair of Ducatis as factory duo Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso broke into the 2:03s bracket, pulling out four tenths over the home favourite. Marquez wouldn’t be kept quiet for long though and with his spare machine underneath him, Marc jumped straight back to the top of the pile six minutes from time, setting a 2:03.563.
The big surprise came moments later though with Vinales raising the bar, not only going faster than the two-time champion, but chopping over a second off the overall benchmark with a 2:02.483. Lorenzo responded instantly, joining his compatriot in the 2:02s, but they would prove to be the only riders that did so.
Marquez ended the morning in third ahead of Valentino Rossi who climbed ahead of Dovizioso late on to take fourth. Pol Espargaro pipped Iannone for sixth while Dani Pedrosa finished eighth, narrowly quicker than Redding and the second Pramac Ducati of Danilo Petrucci.
Turn twelve continued to catch riders out in the remainder of the session with Hector Barbera losing control in the final fifteen minutes while Alex Lowes’ debut session as a MotoGP rider also ended in the same gravel trap. The British rookie was unharmed, although it left him in 21st place overall.