Maverick Vinales topped the times at the end of the first day of pre–season testing for the 2018 season in Valencia, while Yamaha team–mate Valentino Rossi recovered from a heavy early fall to finish fourth.
The day got off to a typically low-key start as most waited for track temperatures to ride before venturing out. After the first hour, Jack Miller was fastest of all on a 1m34.222s at the end of his first run on the Pramac Ducati GP17.
Soon after, newly-crowned four-time world champion Marc Marquez shot to the top of the standings with a 1m31.437s – which was faster than anyone managed during the Valencia race.
The Spaniard – who, along with team-mate Dani Pedrosa and LCR’s Cal Crutchlow, tested the 2017 and a prototype 2018 bike back-to-back on Tuesday – was lucky to avoid a fast fall at Turn 10 not long after setting the benchmark, Marquez once again saving a front-end moment.
Yamaha’s Rossi was not so lucky. The Italian destroyed one of the four YZR-M1s he had at his disposal when he lost the front at the same corner two hours into the day.
Twitter: That bike is going nowhere!
@ValeYellow46 is up and OK but his Yamaha is looking a little worse for wear after a… https://t.co/mbfnLzcrqc (@MotoGP)
He was unscathed and quickly rejoined the action. MotoGP rookie Xavier Simeon also walked away unhurt from a similar spill at Turn 10 90 minutes later.
Marquez further improved at the top of the standings with a 1m30.501s with 90 minutes left, before Tech3’s Johann Zarco took over with a 1m30.389s – that lap coming on the 2017 version of the Yamaha.
With 45 minutes left, Vinales – who topped the two-day Valencia test in 2016 – went top with a 1m30.189s, which came under no threat at the end of the session.
The Spaniard, along with Rossi, spent the day testing the 2016 and 2017 chassis, as well as a 2018 engine and new aero package. It is though both factory riders set their best times on the 2016 frame.
Zarco remained second, two tenths off the pace, while Marquez completed the top three ahead of Rossi and Miller. Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro rounded out the top six.
2017 runner-up Andrea Dovizioso ended the day seventh on a 1m30.850s, with Ducati team-mate Jorge Lorenzo close behind. KTM’s Pol Espargaro and LCR rider Crutchlow completed the top 10.
Neither Suzuki rider was present on Tuesday having been struck down by illness, while Alvaro Bautista was taken to hospital for checks following a highside at Turn 1 due to a gearbox issue. It is not known if the Spaniard will take part in Wednesday’s running.
Twitter: That’s not how you want to start testing
Nasty highside for @19Bautista down at turn one, but luckily #RiderOK https://t.co/EHtQgrPDHm (@MotoGP)
Aspar team-mate Karel Abraham also suffered a nasty off, the Czech rider totalling his GP16 in a fast crash at Turn 7 at the end of the day.
Top rookie honours on day one went to LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami, who edged Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli by just 0.039 seconds in 17th. Avintia’s Simeon was last of the 20 riders to set a time, 0.673s behind HRC test rider Takumi Takahashi on the second Marc VDS Honda.