With a season’s worth of experience under his belt, Pol Espargaro’s Algarve GP weekend got off to a strong start with consistent top five pace while Stefan Bradl got back up to racing speed.

Cooler conditions, air temperature just 17 °C during FP1, presented a new situation for the MotoGP paddock upon their return to Portugal. Temperatures would slowly rise over the course of the day as blue sky remained throughout and meant running was uninterpreted.

Coming from his strongest weekend of the year in Misano, Pol Espargaro was immediately on the pace of the front-runners once again. A 1’40.795 sat him in seventh at the end of Free Practice 1 after spending the session lapping in the 1’40s with ease. Improving his best lap by over one second in Free Practice 2, Espargaro ended the afternoon in fifth overall and only 0.402s behind 2021 MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo who topped the day. The position puts the #44 in a provisional Q2 slot with Free Practice 3 tomorrow morning a final chance to improve. Despite his time and overall position, Espargaro feels there is still more work to be done to improve his chances on Sunday.

Replacing the injured Marc Marquez, Stefan Bradl picked up where he left off from his previous four appearances on track this season. Working methodically, Bradl was able to make similar improvements to his best lap time and finished 18th overall. A 1’40.700 had him 1.3 seconds behind Quartararo and within a second of his Repsol Honda Team teammate. Content with the opening day, continuing to improve alongside the permanent MotoGP riders remains Bradl’s main focus for the weekend.

Action resumes in the Algarve at 09:55 Local Time on Saturday, November 6 with FP3. Qualifying begins at 14:10 Local Time later that day.

Pol Espargaro

Fifth 1'39.792

“The conditions today weren’t amazing, there wasn’t a lot of grip and I was struggling honestly. Today we worked on the setting of the bike to make the most of the situation and to be competitive, I think it shows how far we have come since the start of the year. It’s an amazing step when you compare now to the first time we came. Even if I’m not happy with my feeling, we are able to set quite good times and finish in a position that isn’t too bad. There’s still more work to do, especially with the harder tyres, and getting straight into Q2 won’t be easy but we have potential.”

Stefan Bradl

18th 1'40.700

“I am content with today, we did a good job overall and we were able to start focusing on some smaller details. Our times are there more or less, with the riders who have been racing all year so this shows our level well. I put in a soft tyre at the end of FP2 but it didn’t help us too much. We keep on working, it’s great to see the Honda going so well here with Pol, Alex and Taka all challenging at the front.”

MotoGP 2021
Practice Round 17   Portugal

Algarve Grand Prix Combined Free Practice Classification

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Quartararo Fabio 20 FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1'39.390
2 Bagnaia Francesco 63 ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 0.132
3 Miller Jack 43 AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 0.221
4 Mir Joan 36 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 0.290
5 Espargaro Pol 44 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.402
6 Zarco Johann 5 FRA Pramac Racing Ducati 0.499
7 Marquez Alex 73 SPA LCR Honda Honda 0.652
8 Espargaro Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Aprilia 0.679
9 Nakagami Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda Honda 0.732
10 Rins Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 0.786
11 Martin Jorge 89 SPA Pramac Racing Ducati 0.789
12 Morbidelli Franco 21 ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.835
13 Petrucci Danilo 9 ITA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.841
14 Vinales Maverick 12 SPA Aprilia Racing Aprilia 0.894
15 Marini Luca 10 ITA SKY VR46 Avintia Ducati 0.933
16 Bastianini Enea 23 ITA Avintia Esponsorama Ducati 1.077
17 Binder Brad 33 RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1.108
18 Bradl Stefan 6 GER Repsol Honda Team Honda 1.310
19 Oliveira Miguel 88 POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1.545
20 Lecuona Iker 27 SPA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1.707
21 Rossi Valentino 46 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1.784
22 Dovizioso Andrea 4 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1.824
Location Information

The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve has 15 corners – nine right, six left. The undulation in Portimao is incredible and the front straight will allow the MotoGP™ riders to really stretch the legs of their machines, before a unique downhill descend into Turn 1. There’s a reason it gets called… read more.

Length 4.592 km
Width 14m
Left Corners 6
Right Corners 9
Longest Straight 969 m
Constructed 2008

Records

Pole Position 1'38.725 (167.4Km/h) Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati, 2021)
Race Lap 1'39.450 (166.2Km/h) Alex Rins (Suzuki, 2021)
Race Time 41'46.412 (164.8km/h) Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha, 2021)
2021 Winners Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) | Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati)