Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi gave Movistar Yamaha a welcome morale boost by topping the opening practice session at a blustery Silverstone. Vinales, winner here in 2016, was fast and consistent throughout on his way to the fastest lap time, edging out Rossi by just under two tenths of a second with Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow close behind.
With so much focus on the home favourites, the weekend got off to the worst possible start for Scott Redding in what might be his final British GP in the premier class. The 25-year-old started to coast down the Hangar Straight on his first timed lap of the morning, forcing him to retreat back to the pits. The Noale squad faced more problems before the session was out, Aleix Espargaro’s RS-GP also grounding to a halt.
The very best didn’t find life easy either, as proven when Marc Marquez suffered a crash on the entry to Brooklands. The world champion was on the verge of a session-topping time 15 minutes in but a front-end washout at the final left-hander forced him to pick his bike up out of the grass, despite spending an eternity wrestling to save it.
Vinales had spent the majority of the morning at the top of the leaderboard but a late dash from Crutchlow relegated him to second six minutes from time, the Briton clocking a best time of 2:02.401. Despite a brief spell from Dovizioso on top, the last word would go to Vinales who set a pair of blistering laps either side of the chequered flag, ultimately finishing with a 2:02.073, fractionally faster than his own benchmark this time last year.
By contrast, Rossi’s session was something of a slow-burner but the Italian leapt up to second with his final run of the morning, pipping Dovizioso by one thousandth of a second. Crutchlow would finish fourth ahead of the impressive Jack Miller on the Pramac Ducati while Jorge Lorenzo rounded out the top six on his factory machine.
Tito Rabat was another Ducati rider to catch the eye in seventh, just ahead of Andrea Iannone on the leading Suzuki and Johann Zarco’s Tech 3 Yamaha, while Marquez slipped all the way back to tenth after failing to improve significantly on his second bike. Of the other British riders, Bradley Smith took a solid 12th on his KTM with Redding returning on his second Aprilia to claim 18th.
2018 GoPro British Grand Prix (FP1)
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