Maverick VIñales wants to “do better than previous races” in Thailand, and he showed it from the first free practice by looking for the best time.
This first practice session of the weekend was however long dominated by Marc Marquez, but at the end of the session, the Spaniard was beaten by his compatriot. As in 2018, Maverick Viñales won the FP1, but this time was faster (1’30.979, against 1’31.220 last year).
The session began in dramatic fashion as Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) crashed on an out-lap at the start of the session. Soon however, Marc Marquez stormed to the top and set a string of quick laps, confirming his strong pace for the weekend ahead. However, Yamaha would fight back in the final few moments, with Maverick Viñales topping the session from Fabio Quartararo, both riders featuring prominently on the best sectors. Marquez suffered a big crash in the closing stages of FP1 at the same corner as Oliveira but was third overall. The Spaniard was taken to the Medical Centre for a check-up immediately after.
And as in 2018, another Yamaha rider is following him closely. But this is not his teammate Valentino Rossi (6th), relegated to more than half a second. No, this is Fabio Quartararo (2nd). The tricolor advanced by 17 thousandths Marc Marquez (3rd), author of the best top speed (330.2 km / h) but victim of a heavy fall.
Two Ducatists complete the top-5: the official Andrea Dovizioso (4th) ahead of the satellite Jack Miller (5th). Their two team-mates are in the top-10, first with Danilo Petrucci (7th) and then Francesco Bagnaia (10th). Ranked 11th, Alex Rins is tentatively the first eliminated.
It was a decent start for Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in fourth, as he headed up Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), the Australian placing fifth ahead of Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT). Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) fared much better in eighth, whilst top Suzuki honours went to Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar). The best KTM in FP1 was Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who made an amazing save during the session to finish 13th, one place behind brother Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini).
At KTM, nobody gets in the top 10 but Pol Espargaro (13th) performs less than one second of the best time, while returning from injury. Mika Kallio (20th) is in trouble, clocking 1.9 seconds and in a time almost identical to that of Jorge Lorenzo (18th)