Vinales buries his troubles to set pace in San Marino GP practice

Misano Adriatico (Italy) (AFP) –


Maverick Vinales put his troubles behind him to clock the best practice time Friday for the San Marino Grand Prix.

The Spanish rider, who endured a bitter split with Yamaha earlier this season, was fastest on his new Aprilia machine in the opening practice session on a dry Misano track.

France's Johann Zarco was then quickest in the rain on a Ducati in the second session.

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) finished seventh in the combined times after struggling with the tough conditions of the second free practice.

Vinales clocked the best time of 1min 32.666sec to finish ahead of compatriot Joan Mir, on a Suzuki, with the Ducatis of Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller following.

"Overall, the feeling has been good, but we don't have any thoughts about position or performance," said Vinales who debuted for Aprilia at the Aragon MotoGP last weekend.

"We need to keep understanding many things, but it's good to be in front, this is clear.

"It makes you feel much more calm, much more comfortable because you feel you have the speed. But whatever it takes right now, we have to keep a lot of calm and build up a solid step."

Zarco was 11th in the combined times, but had topped the charts in the second session and will no doubt be hoping for more rain come the weekend after mastering the wet conditions.

"It's a very technical circuit, very small. I had a little pain in my arm but this is normal because there are a lot of right turns," said Zarco who sits fourth in the championship, 77 points behind Quartararo.

"If the race is in the rain it will be a bonus for me because the intensity is less. But in any case, we have a solution for next Wednesday (surgery planned)."

Home favourite Valentino Rossi, soon to be retired, could only manage 19th.

Saturday will see the riders have two more practice sessions before qualification at 1210 GMT.

Leading combined times after two practice sessions

1. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) 1min 32.666sec, 2. Joan Mir (ESP/Team Suzuki Ecstar) at 0.080sec, 3. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati Lenovo Team) 0.135, 4. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati Lenovo Team) 0.193, 5. Alex Rins (ESP/Team Suzuki Ecstar) 0.219, 6. Pol Espargaro (ESP/Repsol Honda Team) 0.353, 7. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) 0.358, 8. Stefan Bradl (GER/Repsol Honda Team) 0.381, 9. Marc Marquez (ESP/Repsol Honda Team) 0.434, 10. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) 0.436