Marc Marquez put together a strong Saturday in Portimao to secure a second row start on his return while Repsol Honda Team team-mate Pol Espargaro escaped major injury from a vicious highside as he looks to regroup on Sunday.
Saturday in Portugal was run under ideal conditions, the sporadic rain showers of the previous day traded for clear blue skies. This made for a busy Free Practice 3 session as everyone attempted to improve their times for a spot in Q2. Both Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez were making good progress with Espargaro inside the top ten and Marquez just a few tenths off as the session approached its end. A red flag, the result of a crash for Jorge Martin, saw both Repsol Honda Team riders unable to improve their time in the restarted five minute session and would subsequently enter Q1 later in the day.
Marc Marquez showed off his trademark style across the day as he and his team gathered data for Sunday and continued to assess his physical condition. Free Practice 4 was a particularly fruitful session with 15 laps completed and a ninth-place finish in the session. Come Q1, Marquez was back in attack mode as he hunted one of the two transfer spots. Edging out the competition with a 1’39.253, his fastest lap of the weekend up until that point, Marquez moved on to fight for the top 12. Doing just one run in Q2 at the end of the session, Marquez set the sixth best time with a 1’39.121 to secure a second row start on his MotoGP return.
For Pol Espargaro it proved to be a bruising Saturday in the Algarve as he was thrown from his RC213V during Free Practice 4. The highside ended his session early and left him with strong pain in his hip, but Espargaro soldiered on to fight in Q1. Despite the pain, Espargaro was able to take fourth in the session and will line up 14th on the grid for Sunday’s race. Sector times continue to show strong promise for what Espargaro, and the Honda are capable of. Aiming to get a good night’s rest, Espargaro and his team are ready to see what tomorrow will bring.
Racing begins at 13:00 Local Time on Sunday, April 18 after the Moto3 race. Running over 25 laps, the Grande Prémio de Portugal is building to be another exciting affair with big names throughout the field looking to gain ground.
Portuguese GP Qualifying Results
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.
|1'37.226 (170.0Km/h) Marc Marquez (Honda, 2023)
|1'38.872 (167.1Km/h) Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia, 2023)
|41'24.401 (166.2km/h) Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati, 2023)
|Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati)