COTA MotoGP Practice: Vinales Leads the Way After Acquiring Dorna Sports

After a three-week break following the Portuguese GP, MotoGP returns to action with the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) hosting the next round. The Argentina round was unfortunately cancelled due to government funding issues, leading to an extended break for the riders and teams. This return is significant as it is the first race since the announcement of US media giant Liberty acquiring Dorna Sports in a massive deal worth €4.2 billion.

COTA has undergone some changes since MotoGP’s last visit to Texas. The track has been partially resurfaced, which has impacted lap times. Despite the changes to the circuit, lap times were still more than two seconds off the all-time record set by Francesco Bagnaia in 20213. In the practice session, Maverick Vinales set the initial pace with a time of 2m07.601s, eventually improving to 2m03.294s during a final time attack on new medium Michelin tires. This strong performance allowed Vinales to lead the session, with championship leader Martin close behind on the Pramac Ducati. Rookie sensation Pedro Acosta impressed once again by securing the third spot after his maiden podium in Portugal.

As the field familiarized themselves with the partially resurfaced track, various riders took turns leading the times. The session saw fluctuations in the leaderboard with riders like Vinales, Acosta, Martin, Marco Bezzecchi, and Marc Marquez showcasing their speed. Marquez, an eight-time world champion, briefly topped the standings before Martin and then Jack Miller set the pace. However, it was ultimately Vinales who emerged on top, setting a time of 2m03.294s with fresh rubber. Martin pushed hard on his final flying lap but fell short by 0.149s, settling for second place. The rest of the top positions were occupied by familiar names like Enea Bastianini, Bezzecchi, and Brad Binder.

Some riders had a challenging session, with Alex Marquez suffering a crash that left him at the bottom of the timesheets. Last year’s Americas GP winner, Alex Rins, had a modest performance, finishing as the top Yamaha in 13th place. Fabio Quartararo, who recently signed a new two-year contract with Yamaha, followed closely behind. Luca Marini led the Honda contingent in 15th place, with his teammate Joan Mir not far behind.

The COTA MotoGP practice session provided a glimpse of the competition to come in the upcoming race weekend. With Vinales showcasing strong pace and several riders demonstrating their potential, fans can expect an exciting and closely contested event. The changes to the track and the recent developments in the sport add an extra layer of intrigue to the proceedings, setting the stage for an action-packed race at the iconic Circuit of the Americas.

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