Pol Espargaro was just 0.333s off pole position as he demonstrated the gains made this season while Stefan Bradl’s pace continued to improve in Portugal.

A thrilling Free Practice 3 session started the Saturday action at the Algarve GP, the 22-rider field leaving it until the final moments of the morning session to push for a fast time. Pol Espargaro protected his position in the top ten with a 1’39.552 in the closing minutes of the session. Although Stefan Bradl did not make the combined top ten, the German still improved his personal best time by another half a second.

Falling at Turn 1 during Free Practice 4 interrupted Espargaro’s plans for the session slightly, but the #44 escaped any injury and was able to quickly return to the circuit. Ending the 30-minute session in 11th, Espargaro prepared himself for Q2. A well-timed run earned him a 1’39.058 on his penultimate lap, good enough for a sixth place start to Sunday’s race. Top Honda on the grid, this is Espargaro’s fourth time launching from the front two rows on the grid in 2021 – two of the previous starts leading to top five finishes.

Espargaro qualified in 14th for the Portuguese Grand Prix earlier in the year with a time of 1’39.710, his results today clearly showing the progress he and the Repsol Honda Team have made this season.

On the other side of the Repsol Honda Team garage, Stefan Bradl’s forward progress steadily continued as be placed himself among the regular Grand Prix riders. Half a second away from the top ten in FP3, Bradl would improve his best time down to a 1’39.907 for 10th in Q1. Since first stepping on the bike on Friday, the Honda HRC Test Rider has improved his time with each session on track. Bradl is hoping for a consistent race in order to add further to his 2021 points haul, having scored in all four of his previous appearances this season.

Sunday’s race begins at 13:00 Local Time, just after the Moto3 race and will run over 25 laps.

Pol Espargaro

Sixth 1'39.058

“Today showed the progress we have made this year with the bike, with me and with the team. I made a mistake at T1 during my fastest lap so maybe I could have found another tenth but otherwise I was feeling good on the bike – even after our crash in FP4. The front two rows are our target every weekend, when you’re here you can be there in the group in the race with a good start. I’m happy we’ve made this step, but we can be there. Still, we need to look a bit at what tyre to use in the race because there’s a lot of possible options here.”

Stefan Bradl

20th 1'39.907

“Qualifying was OK, of course I would have liked to be further ahead but in the end I am still missing something over one lap. This is probably the area where I see the biggest difference between myself and the other riders, pushing to get the most out of the tyre over one lap. In the end I think we have done and are doing a good job, the distance to the front is not very big because the times are so tight. Let’s see what happens tomorrow, the plan is to stay in the group and see what happens.”

MotoGP 2021
Qualifying Round 17   Portugal

Algarve Grand Prix Qualifying Results

Dry
Humidity
27%
Track Temp
27°C
Air Temp
19°C
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Bagnaia Francesco 63 ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1'38.725
2 Miller Jack 43 AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 0.104
3 Mir Joan 36 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 0.168
4 Martin Jorge 89 SPA Pramac Racing Ducati 0.191
5 Zarco Johann 5 FRA Pramac Racing Ducati 0.193
6 Espargaro Pol 44 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.333
7 Quartararo Fabio 20 FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.406
8 Marquez Alex 73 SPA LCR Honda Honda 0.466
9 Morbidelli Franco 21 ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.596
10 Lecuona Iker 27 SPA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.662
11 Rins Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 0.924
12 Marini Luca 10 ITA SKY VR46 Avintia Ducati 1.103
13 Bastianini Enea 23 ITA Avintia Esponsorama Ducati 0.153 Q1
14 Espargaro Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Aprilia 0.259
15 Petrucci Danilo 9 ITA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.465
16 Rossi Valentino 46 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 0.474
17 Oliveira Miguel 88 POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.494
18 Vinales Maverick 12 SPA Aprilia Racing Aprilia 0.608
19 Binder Brad 33 RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.729
20 Bradl Stefan 6 GER Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.777
21 Dovizioso Andrea 4 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 0.788
22 Nakagami Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda Honda 0.879
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)