The riders heading straight to Q2 are decided as Miller sets a new lap record, Bagnaia starts strong and Marquez loses a cat and mouse with Quartararo. KTM top every category on Friday in Portugal, MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.
Light rain in the opening stages of the session saw the majority of the grid watch the opening laps from the pitlane, but with about half an hour to go, the rain cleared and it was go time. A flurry of fast laps in the closing stages of the session decided the order, and an incredible lap came in from Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP) to secure top spot.
Meanwhile Repsol Honda – aka Marc Marquez and Joan Mir – did some formation flying, and by the end of the session Mir secured second with some solid early signs. The Mooney VR46 Racing Team duo of Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi also pushed hard in the morning, taking third and fourth.
The top Aprilia was Viñales in sixth, ahead of Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), who led the session up until the closing stages. Key title contenders Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Bagnaia had a relatively quiet session and finished P1 locked together in eighth and ninth, with Marc Marquez forced to settle for P10.
It was a stop start afternoon session with a first Red Flag due to systems issue at the track, but as the clock ran down the times continued to tumble. Martin set a mid-session banker, the first rider to get below the previous race weekend record, and with the pace set, the rest of the grid chased down the Spaniard’s lap time. The riders were pushing hard, including the 2022 Champion Bagnaia, who also had a high-speed moment, saving it heroically on his elbow as he hurtled through the fast-flowing final corner.
With 15 minutes to go, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) went top, before a second Red Flag caused another stoppage due to a crash for Pol Espargaro (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3). The Spaniard was taken to Faro hospital for further examination where he was diangnosed with a pulmonary contusion, jaw fracture and a fractured dorsal vertebra, on the upside there are no signs of any serious spinal damage.
Once the session was back underway, soft tyres were thrown in and another flurry of fast laps followed, as the riders competed to get into that all-important top 10 for a secure spot in Q2. With eight minutes to go, Pecco took his number-1-plated Ducati to the top with an incredible 1:37.856, but that was all she wrote for the Italian following his stellar lap as he swiftly retired from the session with an issue. That left a target, and the timing screens began to light up with just two minutes remaining. Two riders bettered Bagnaia by the flag: Miller and Viñales, who both flew into the 1:37 club to put themselves in prime positions heading into Saturday.
That left Bagnaia third ahead of Marini who bounced back into fourth, with Martin forced to settle for fifth. Quartararo takes sixth on Day 1… and had some company from Marc Marquez in the afternoon. Reminiscent of a few moments in recent seasons, the number 93 was locked onto the number 20 for a little while, and got caught out. Marquez went down at Turn 3 and lost his chance to improve further, finding himself out of Q1 but rider perfectly ok.
Behind Quartararo in sixth then comes not Marquez but Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing), with Bezzecchi next up. Aleix Espargaro goes through in ninth, with the last rider in Q2 for now proving Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team)…. just! Alex Marquez, Joan Mir, Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) and Marc Marquez will now head for Q1.
Cold tyres caught out Bezzecchi and Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) early after the session was restarted. Both riders were up and ok, and back on track for the rest of the session. Miguel Oliveira (CryptoData RNF MotoGP Team) suffered a highside, rider ok, and teammate Raul Fernandez also crashed in the afternoon, rider ok.
Riders through to Q2: Miller, Viñales, Bagnaia, Marini, Martin, Quartararo, Zarco, Bezzecchi, Aleix Espargaro and… Bastianini! Find the full timesheets below.
Maverick Viñales – P2
“This was not an easy result. There was a lot of work behind the scenes. We picked back up with the good sensations we had in the tests and we need to keep going in this direction. Before starting this morning I was a bit nervous, as often happens on the first day of a new season, but I’m at ease now after verifying our real level. I was fast on the fast lap but times were more than satisfactory on the long run too. As for testing the tyres, I have a pretty clear idea about the choice for the rear, whereas a lot will depend on the temperature for the front.”
Francesco Bagnaia – P3
“Our first practice day for 2023 went well: with used tyres, we are quite competitive, and even in the time attack, we managed to set a good lap time. In the first attempt, I risked falling at the last corner, while with the second soft tyre, I managed to close only one lap before the red flag came out following Pol’s crash. In any case, we can be happy and ready to face the first Sprint Race of the season.”
Luca Marini – P4
“Today was a busy day: the second session was very long, but we tried to stay focused despite the interruptions. I’m happy that Pol (Espargaro) is OK, the crash was very strong. I am satisfied in any case of the day, we are competitive. I’m surprised, the track had more rubber in the test than today, but we were faster. Tomorrow I expect an important time for the pole position, we will try to stay as far ahead as possible for the sprint and the race.”
Fabio Quartararo – P6
“I think we are working in a good way. I’m feeling much calmer than I was last year. Even if I don’t feel like I’m at my 100 per cent, I feel like we are working in the proper way, and we are being precise. I’m in P6, and only 0.3s behind. I think we can make a step for tomorrow. I feel okay on the bike, and looking at the data, we’re not in a bad situation. We need to keep going and figure out where we can improve.”
Marco Bezzecchi – P8
“I didn’t want to crash, I made a small mistake at turn nine, but I’m happy. With the M I’m strong, but also with the S I have a good feeling. Compared to the test, I made a step forward on the first half of the track, turns 3, 5 and 8, while I struggle in T3 and T4. Tomorrow in the sprint we will begin to understand the real values and I hope to be able to fight.”
Aleix Espargaró – P9
“I am extremely pleased because I had even better sensations than in the tests, which were already positive. It was clearly not easy for me to go back out on the track after Pol’s accident, but I’ve been doing this job for a long time and I know that these things happen. Fortunately, it seems that serious consequences were avoided. Having someone like Doctor Charte taking care of us riders is truly a great help. Tomorrow, we’ll focus entirely on the qualifiers because I’m convinced that the results of the Sprint Race will depend greatly on the start. With a good spot on the grid, we’ll be able to make a play for it.”
Enea Bastianini – P10
“It was difficult to concentrate this afternoon, but I managed. The last two time attacks went well, although I was expecting more. I still have to figure out how to get the most from the new bike, but I’m learning its strengths. For now, I am satisfied with the progress made during the day, and we will try to make more tomorrow.”
Alex Marquez – P11
“Generally speaking it was a positive day, we only needed one little push to get into Q2. We missed out on the perfect lap and I’m aware it’s an area I need to improve. This was the first day of the season and maybe I was a little bit more nervous than usual. We still need to improve something strategy wise, but it’s normal on the first day of a Grand Prix.”
Joan Mir – P12
“We were able to improve a lot from the test to today and I was able to feel a lot better with the bike. I think we left something more out there on track, so I am not fully satisfied. With our second tyre we weren’t able to make the most of it, but the team and I understand what we need to do in the future to improve this. That’s important. Of course, it’s a shame because we were having a great day. Tomorrow is a new day and I think we have a good chance to go through Q1.”
Alex Rins – P13
“Overall, we’ve improved. We are not far from the guys at the front; however, we still need to work on the race pace, the grip, and some other details. The main thing is that we are constantly taking small steps, which means we are working in the right direction, but we must be patient because there is still work to do”.
Marc Marquez – P14
“All of the Honda riders were quite close today. I was feeling quite good with the bike today and our goal today was to get into Q2 and we just missed that. It will be an intense day tomorrow because everyone is riding very well and at the limit after the test. It wasn’t the best day overall today, it was a standard day, but I am aiming to make a step tomorrow and be a bit faster. The crash I had today was one of those crashes where you know it will come, I was braking too late after Turn 2 – I tried to save it but it didn’t work.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P15
“We made a step forward after the test some days ago, and I’ve felt comfortable on the bike. There are still some areas to improve, but I’m positive because we’ve already seen some progression. I’m curious to see how the new Saturday format works for us; let’s keep working and pushing to reach our goals“.
Raul Fernandez – P17
“The first session and the first run of the second session was far from ideal today, I didn’t feel good with the bike and felt quite uncomfortable. But the team did a great job, we changed some things and they gave me a good setting on the bike. But when I went out for the time attack, I crashed and the second bike wasn’t ready with the settings that I liked. I still did the time attack with the less preferred bike, but obviously, didn’t feel 100% comfortable with it. We will try again tomorrow and I hope we have better weather and I feel that we will also do a better job.”
Miguel Oliveira – P19
“Today was a strange day. We had Practice one with some drizzle at the beginning and managed to do only two runs. Therefore, we were not able to get a really good feeling. In Free Practice two it started quite well, I felt good with the bike, but when I tried the other bike we had in the garage with another configuration there was an issue with the steering damper. Then, there was this huge delay on the timing error. I don’t know what happened. For sure today was not the brightest day in terms of how smooth the sessions were. I had a heavy crash when I went on my out lap with new tyres. I went down because of a cold rear tyre. At first, I thought Pol’s bike had hit me, but then I completely understood that I crashed alone and I highsided at the entry of turn 11. Luckily, I had just a contusion of my foot and on my left leg. Still I tried to do my best and go out with the soft front and the soft rear, trying to get a good lap time. But I was just not confident and just tried to get through the day. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll have a better one.”
Franco Morbidelli – P20
“It was an interesting day. It was a new experience to have a one-hour practice in the afternoon. Unfortunately, today I struggled with the rear grip. We have some modifications in mind that should improve that. Let’s see if I can use them well tomorrow.”
Fabio DiGiannantonio – P21
“It was a bit of a chaotic day between track conditions and red flags, but I wasn’t expecting that much of a difference only for one day of testing I missed. We lapped the same as we did in Day one of testing, while the others had made already a big step forward. We’re a bit on the back foot and we need to understand how to be better tomorrow. The crash didn’t help, but fortunately I’m fine.”
MotoGP Friday Practice Results
Moto2 Friday Practice
The tale of Day 1 at the Grande Premio Tissot de Portugal was a duel: Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) vs Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team). The Spaniard ended the day top by less than a tenth in the end, with Dixon second before a couple of tenths back to Filip Salač (QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2) in third.
Elf Marc VDS Racing Team’s Sam Lowes and Tony Arbolino complete the top five, both also quick in testing, but it’s advantage Acosta and Dixon so far on the Algarve.
The top 14 go straight to Q2, see who makes the cut in P3 at 9:25 (GMT) on Saturday. The provisional line-up after P1 and P2 can be found below in the combined times.
2022 Championship runner up Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) is missing the first round through injury following a crash in training. He’s not being replaced. Rookie – and reigning Moto3 Champion – Izan Guevara (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) is also sidelined following recent surgery, replaced by Jordi Torres. Alex Escrig (Forward Team) was declared unfit following a final medical check on Friday morning after his crash in the Jerez test. He is replaced by David Sanchis.
Moto2 Friday Practice Results
Moto3 Friday Practice Results
Day 1 of the Grande Premio Tissot de Portugal saw Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) top the timesheets from Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI), the latter proving a popular prediction for Champion this season amongst the MotoGP field and off to good start. Third goes to David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports), making it three sophomores in the top three.
Veteran Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) was fourth, with Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) completing the top five. Kaito Toba (SIC58 Squadra Corse) headed the Honda machinery in P6 just ahead of young Aussie Joel Kelso (CFMOTO).
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