“I’m delighted with the work done during this first day: in FP2, my feeling with the bike was excellent, and it allowed me to set the fastest time even though the track conditions weren’t perfect. Tomorrow the temperatures will be higher, and the grip levels too. It will be important to get into Q2 right away and, above all, to have a consistent pace in FP4.”
Fabio Quartararo – P2
“I‘m so happy with how it went here today. Last year was a disaster for me. Mentally it‘s so important to be strong and try to reset from what happened last year. And actually our pace was really strong today. I feel so good. I can‘t wait for tomorrow and find a bit more pace, but honestly it feels really good to be at this track and have fun. I can say that the bike is also working really well here, so I‘m happy. We don‘t have any specific areas that we need to work on right now. But it would be nice to have a bit more grip on track over the next days. There is a lot of sliding here, so the lap times are close to a second slower compared to last year.”
Joan Mir – P3
“I said before the start of the Grand Prix that I hadn’t managed to show my potential here last year, or the potential of the bike, but straight away today I felt good. The Suzuki works well at this track and I feel confident after today – I have the sensations that I want and need. The conditions weren’t the best today and it was quite slippery, but I think tomorrow it will improve and everybody will be faster. So today we made sure our base is good and then we just had to adjust little things. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Alex Rins – P4
“Today was a good day, we tried to understand the limits of the track. This morning was tricky because of the wet patches and low grip level, but I was still able to do a good FP1 session. In FP2 everything was dry, so it was a bit easier, but the grip was still not very good. We had planned to test some different rear tyre options, but in the end it wasn’t possible because of the conditions. But the aim was to get into the Top 10 in FP2 to hopefully go through to Q2 tomorrow, and I managed to do that with 4th place, so I’m happy with that. I feel strong on the bike and I’m ready for tomorrow.”
Jack Miller – P5
“I’m pleased to be back here at Portimão, a track I enjoy! I had no issues with the arm, and I’ve felt comfortable on the bike immediately from the start. The conditions today were not optimal after the rain that fell on several occasions. Hopefully, we can find a more linear situation tomorrow that will allow us to work on our race pace and push in qualifying”.
Marc Marquez – P6
“It was a great day, a great feeling to be back in MotoGP. On the first run the track wasn’t so good but I felt good on the bike. I felt better in the morning because the arm was fresh, it was rested, and I had good power. In the afternoon I had to work more to warm up the arm and I could feel it was more tired. But we are in a better situation than what we were expecting before the weekend. I am riding the bike, following my own way and the lap times are coming well. The main question for me is still how the arm will react over the weekend. It is great to be back, we have worked very hard for this moment and it’s great to achieve it.”
Maverick Vinales – P7
“In the morning I had a really great feeling. Somehow, I felt a lot of grip with the tyres. But this afternoon, on the other hand, I felt the opposite way. I was sliding a lot, especially with the front, and I never got the good feeling necessary to push. So, for sure, we can improve a lot, and we picked out some clear points of the settings that we will work on. So, we will see tomorrow, but overall I‘m still quite confident. Despite today‘s problems, we are still at the front of the group, so that‘s actually quite good, and we are inside the top-10, which is the most important.”
Johann Zarco – P8
“I am fairly happy with this first day, I was able to go fast in both sessions and so I am satisfied. We still must improve some things because I feel I can do much better than this, but now I have to stay focused and maybe I’ll look at Pecco’s data because he’s done a great job today.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P10
“Unfortunately, I had quite a big crash on the first lap during FP2, it was a big impact and was quite painful all over my body. I’d like to thank the medical staff, because I was pushing to get back out on the track and then finally with 12 minutes to go, I was able to go back out and try my best. I struggled and was not comfortable on the bike, because I was in pain, but I did my best until the last moment. I am pretty happy with my P10 today, because I didn’t expect anything in this situation. Thanks to all my team, they did a great job today and let’s see what happens tomorrow. Hopefully we can improve the physical condition and also the set-up of the bike, but I’m happy where we ended up.”
Álex Márquez – P11
“Today was a good day, but we are still in P11 so there’s still that feeling we can give a little bit more. In general, I think we did a good job, but tomorrow morning we’ll have the opportunity to improve to go into Q2, so I hope to improve and be there. Thanks to the team as we tried some new things and new ideas that were better, so we need to keep going like this, pushing hard. Qatar is already forgotten. Portimao looks a bit better for our bike and our package, so tomorrow we’ll try hard to be in Q2.”
Pol Espargaro – P12
“Today looks like a bad day, but it is not as bad as it looks. Our ideal lap time is very close to Marc which means we can achieve it and we are riding in a good way. Unfortunately, today I made a few mistakes and couldn’t make the perfect lap, it’s the problem I am having at the moment pushing with a tyre on a new track. I am making mistakes and running wide which, you pay for quite a lot. It’s just FP2, tomorrow we need to put the good lap in. Today was about learning this bike at this track and we spent a lot of the second session doing this because in the morning the track was not perfect.”
Luca Marini – P13
“I’m very happy: I really enjoyed this session; I like the track and I felt good on the bike too. We were fast, we did a great job between the FP1 and the FP2 even if, compared to the other Ducati, we are losing something in braking. I can make a step forward on my riding style in 2/3 points to be ready for my flying lap in qualifying. The FP4 will be very important to choose the tire for the race: today we used both medium and soft and we need to understand how the compound will work on the long run”.
Aleix Espargaro – P14
“I am happy with the day. The session this morning, considering the track conditions, was substantially pointless. In the afternoon, I felt good, although I had a few difficulties with the front end. At the beginning, I thought this might have been due to the tyre carcass being too stressed and, precisely to solve this problem, I chose the hard tyre on my second outing to try for a good time. This proved to be a mistake. The lack of feeling was due to poor grip and that led to my crash. I am not worried, because I’m confident that direct access to Q2 will be decided tomorrow morning, when everyone will be lowering their times.”
Valentino Rossi – P15
“This morning was very difficult because it was still quite wet on track, but at the end it wasn’t too bad. In the afternoon, on the longer run, my race pace was not fantastic but it was not too far away from the others. I did some good laps but it was not consistent, so we need to improve that. Afterwards we decided to save some tyres, so I was not at the limit on the soft tyres. The first target tomorrow will be to stay inside the top-ten in FP3, which is not easy because all the riders are very close, and secondly to understand the tyre choice for Sunday. It looks like the weather for the next two days should be good though.”
Lorenzo Savadori – P16
“The track grip conditions are anything but ideal and if last year, having done the tests, I was starting from a slightly better situation than the others, now we are all at the same level. In any case, the new bike performs better overall compared with 2020, although we still need to improve, because I am not entirely convinced about the settings. I’d like to focus primarily on the second part of the braking, when you release the brake to go into the corner, a situation where I am also less incisive than Aleix.”
Danilo Petrucci – P18
“I was really curious to try the bike here, because it’s just the second track for us. I can state, that I’m happy about my feeling, although I’m not satisfied about the result of today. We have to make some modifications on the setup and we are working to find my pace.This is a good opportunity for us. For sure, we still need to improve, but I feel ok, better compared to Qatar. My lap time is still not as fast as I wish it to be, but we have some ideas for tomorrow and for sure, we will improve.”
Franco Morbidelli – P19
“We were able to improve the bike during the day and I feel better riding it now as well. I’m quite happy with the pace that we found during Free Practice today. We need to wait for FP3 to confirm some things, because the position wasn’t great. Tomorrow we will concentrate more on the time attack, because we decided to take some extra time today to try some things regarding the set-up of the bike. So we’ll put everything together and try our best to go directly into Q2. I hope the track conditions will improve and we can secure a good row on the grid.”
Enea Bastianini – P20
“Today has been a difficult day, we improved the lap time from FP1 to FP2. Tomorrow we need to try to push very hard. I’ve had problems with the front part set-up as the bike was moving a lot, I think we can resolve the problem to be in time to make a good lap time tomorrow. This track is very technical, unfortunately I have not been able to have a reference, it was not possible to follow any rider and here this is important”.
Iker Lecuona – P21
“It’s the first time for me with the GP bike here in Portimao, also with my arm after the surgery. I feel ok, although my arm gives me a bit of discomfort. Still, I tried to work as well as possible, learning the track, which is very technical and difficult. I improved, but I know I need to continue, as I’m quite far from the front. I hope we can speed up tomorrow in FP3 and try to fight to get a spot in Q2.”
Jorge Martín – P22
“It’s definitely not what we expected, but today I couldn’t find the right feeling either with the bike or with the circuit and for this reason I struggled a lot. Tonight we will work with the team to find a solution and do better tomorrow.”
Day 1 at the Grande Premio 888 de Portugal belongs to Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) as the Italian put together a pretty imperious performance to end the day fastest on the combined timesheets. From wet patches in FP1 to a fully dry FP2, the Italian was a force to be reckoned with most of the time he was on track, with red sectors aplenty. He ends Friday three and a half tenths clear of Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), with reigning Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) taking third overall.
In FP1 Marquez was third overall and only lost out on the top spot after two very late lunges from Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), and by the end of play the Repsol Honda rider was sixth. Happy, fast, and with a few questions remaining about his stamina as could be expected… but as exciting to watch as ever.
The first lap was a steady one, before the number 93 started to reel in those ahead of him. With the damp patches still very much playing a part it wasn’t ideal for anyone least of all a rider coming back after nine months on the sidelines, but as the final few flashes of pace emerged in the last few minutes, Marquez most definitely had speed. Cranking it up to take over at the top with only moments remaining, it seemed like the fairy tale initial headline could be about to come true. But no, Rins first and next Viñales did enough to deny the eight-time World Champion by a couple of tenths.
FP2 similarly bubbled to a fast lap mad dash, although with the weather expected to remain pretty fair for the rest of the weekend – and conditions not changing as much as Qatar – there was a little less fervour than what we saw a couple of weeks ago. Nevertheless, there were some solid time attacks and Marquez was back amongst it. He ran off at Turn 1 and had a couple of twitches on his way to sixth, but a threat at the front he seems to remain… Jaws music, anyone?
Between Mir in third and Marquez in sixth, Rins slots into fourth as both Team Suzuki Ecstar machines enjoyed a good start to the weekend, looking to make amends for a difficult GP on the Algarve last year. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team), despite arm pump surgery ahead of the weekend, was fifth on Friday as he returns to the venue of his most recent podium, and the Aussie was only 0.008 off Rins ahead of him. Marc Marquez’ sixth, meanwhile, was decided by just 0.003 as Miller pipped him by the smallest of margins.
Viñales, after topping FP1, was seventh and 0.560 off the top, ahead of top Independent Team rider Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) by just 0.064. Championship leader Zarco had an interesting end to the day as he suffered a mechanical problem on a practice start and pulled off the track as his bike began to smoke slightly, luckily finding himself in range of a Miller Taxi service as the Australian picked him up and let the Frenchman ride pillion back to the pits.
Home hero now and last year as he destroyed the field on his way to the win from pole, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) begins the 2021 edition in P9, and within provisional reach of Q2. The last rider currently on to join him is Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), the Japanese rider sneaking in late on despite a monumental crash earlier in FP2. Coming off on the way into Turn 1, the number 30 slid across the run off at speed and is feeling a little sore but was back out later in the session.
Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was the rider just denied by his teammate’s last push for the top ten as he ends the day in P11, with Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) shuffled down to P12 by just 0.011 despite having shown a stronger start to the day, only four thousandths off teammate Marquez in FP1. The top rookie was Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia) as the Italian moved into a provisional top ten and then got shuffled down a few places to a nevertheless still impressive P13, just 0.013 off Pol Espargaro. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), meanwhile, was 14th and a tenth and a half further back, with Valentino Rossi completing the fastest fifteen on Friday after a tougher day for the Italian and his teammate Franco Morbidelli, who was P19.
Clouds remain overhead but the forecast says they don’t threaten any more rain. Last year it was Oliveira on pole, but this year the grid are already within a second of that on Friday… will history repeat itself?
MotoGP Friday Combined Times
Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) was back on top on Friday at the Grande Premio 888 de Portugal, the American fastest in both sessions and pretty comfortably. His 1:43.144 put him 0.317 clear of rookie on the chase Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), last year’s dominant force at the track in Moto3, with Aron Canet (Solunion Aspar Team) in third heading up a close and high-profile remainder of the top ten.
With a few damp patches in the morning but Moto2 getting the best conditions enjoyed by any class, Roberts started how he meant to go on and went fastest in FP1, although he did have some close company as Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was just 0.041 off. By the afternoon and in full sun though, it was Roberts on top again and the American pulled the pin. He ended the day three tenths ahead of a different Red Bull KTM Ajo as Fernandez leaped into second, with the two enjoying some clear space ahead of the chasing pack.
Canet leads that chasing pack, but the gaps make for intense reading. Gardner is fourth just 0.009 back, with Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) 0.048 off the Aussie. Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40) was back to the form he’d started to show towards the end of 2020 and takes sixth with a deficit of 0.023, and it’s exactly the same gap back to Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) in seventh as the Championship leader had a quieter first day on the timesheets. Reigning Moto3 Champion Albert Arenas (Solunion Aspar Team) had his best day in the intermediate class yet as he took P8 and was just 0.011 off Lowes. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) takes ninth 0.028 further back, with Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completing the top ten, just ahead of teammate Jake Dixon.
Yari Montella (Lightech Speed Up) had an impressive Friday. The reigning Moto2 European Champion struggled somewhat in Qatar but has been much quicker out the blocks in Portugal, ending Day 1 in P12 and after some periods much further up the timesheets too at a track at which he has both good experience and good memories. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) are currently the last two set to move through to Q2, but it can still shuffle on Saturday morning!
Moto2 Friday Combined Times
F.Di Giannanto Ita
L.Dalla Porta Ita
Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) laid down a marker on Day 1 of the Grande Premio 888 de Portugal, pulling out 0.476 on closest rival Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) to go fastest on Friday by some margin. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo), the all-time lap record holder in Moto3 at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, completes the top three nearly exactly half a second off the top.
The morning saw the grid greeted with a good few damp patches, with action therefore understandably a little slow to start. It did gradually dry out but not wholly, so all riders improved in a fully dry FP2. Fully dry for the most part at least, with rain starting to spit in the final ten minutes or so – and no one after that able to depose Rodrigo as the Argentinean remained top, although his best was around two seconds or so off Masia’s all-time lap record set in 2020.
Migno had more of his solid 2021 speed to just pip the aforementioned Red Bull KTM Ajo of Masia, with only 0.028 between the two to compare to Rodrigo’s 0.476 advantage in P1. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS Valresa Aspar Team) slots into fourth another tenth back, with Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) in fifth as the veteran’s speed remains despite him having the same experience of the track as most, rather than a chunk more.
Championship leader, rookie and man of the moment Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is sixth after Day 1 as he tastes the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for the first time in the Grand Prix paddock, but he has already won here in the FIM Moto3 Junior World Championship, which is joyous news for his rivals as he’s once again quick straight out the box. His deficit to Fenati was less than half a tenth, and his gap back to Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) in seventh a more sizeable 0.114.
Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PrüstelGP) showed his step forward in 2021 was no flash in the Qatar pan as he was eighth, within a tenth of Suzuki and just ahead of last year’s Portuguese GP podium finisher Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) as the Italian took P9. Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) completes the top ten fresh from his first podium since 2019 last time out, more fully fit than at any race in 2020.
The weather looks like it may improve for qualifying, but will the lightweight class face another damp patch lottery for FP3? If they do, it’ll be second in the standings Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), rookie Izan Guevara (GASGAS Valresa Aspar Team) and veteran John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) heading through to Q2 directly as they complete the fastest 14 on Friday in that order. In a small twist of fate, McPhee denied Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) by just 0.029 ahead of their pitlane starts following their spat in Qatar. The Scotsman was also the sole crasher on Friday, rider ok and remounting to head back to the pits.
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