Alex Marquez awaits his first season on Gresini Ducati machinery as MotoGP arrives at Portimao’s Algarve International Circuit this weekend.
The longest Grand Prix season to date sees the introduction of the sprint race with Saturday’s new schedule bringing both qualifying and race action to the fore. Portugal’s rolling hills provide the backdrop to the inaugural round, a venue Marquez as failed to finish outside of the top ten since his promotion to the premier class three years ago.
“Time to begin finally!” Marquez said as the anticipation builds. “We’re coming from a few days of very positive testing and I’m eager to test myself at the track.
“I would have loved a few more days to get to know the Ducati better, but we’re at a good point already.
“The first three-four races of the season will be key to find the right automatisms and feelings ahead of the season. There’s a sprint race to discover, so we’ll dive into these first two weekends with renewed confidence.”
Marquez teams up with Fabio Di Giannantonio, as the Italian - recovering from a heavy fall and concussion at the Portimao test - prepares for his second year as a Gresini MotoGP rider.
“I’ve been feeling 100 per cent fit for a few days now, and after the hit suffered in the test, it was important to get back in shape straight away,’ Di Giannantonio confirmed. “I’m charged up for Portugal and for the new race weekend format.
“Portimao has always been a demanding track, so we’ll have to manage the energy well and get in the points straight away.
“We’ll see then where we’re at in Argentina, on a track that it’s usually quite dirty at the start of the weekend: it will be important to be quick straight away and be less conservative.”