Crashes for both Marc Marquez and Joan Mir contributed to a frustrating day for the factory Repsol Honda team as its flashes of strong pace weren’t enough to lift either rider into Q2 on Friday at Portimao.
The fortunes of the HRC squad were watched closely on Friday as it heads into 2023 with Marquez insisting he is back to full fitness for the first time since his 2018 title-winning season and 2020 MotoGP Champion Mir having joined from Suzuki.
However, while there were periods that saw both riders challenging for the top spot on the timesheets in both P1 and P2, Marquez and Mir would be shuffled down the order to 12th and 14th respectively by the chequered flag.
Marquez might have stood to end the day higher had he not slid off at Turn 2 while aggressively shadowing Fabio Quartararo in the pursuit of a reference point. Despite the fall, Marquez was satisfied with the potential from the Honda RC213V.
“All of the Honda riders were quite close today,” Marquez confirmed. “I was feeling quite good with the bike today and our goal today was to get into Q2 and we just missed that.
“It will be an intense day tomorrow because everyone is riding very well and at the limit after the test. It wasn’t the best day overall today, it was a standard day, but I am aiming to make a step tomorrow and be a bit faster.
“The crash I had today was one of those crashes where you know it will come, I was braking too late after Turn 2 – I tried to save it but it didn’t work.”
Mir, meanwhile, began the day well with a fine second fastest time in P1 but after losing time with a crash early on in P2, he too would end the day outside the crucial top ten spots.
“We were able to improve a lot from the test to today and I was able to feel a lot better with the bike,” Mir explained. “I think we left something more out there on track, so I am not fully satisfied.
“With our second tyre we weren’t able to make the most of it, but the team and I understand what we need to do in the future to improve this.
“That’s important. Of course, it’s a shame because we were having a great day. Tomorrow is a new day and I think we have a good chance to go through Q1.”
Honda is currently the only manufacturer without a guaranteed entry into Q2 after all four of its bikes failed to make the top ten cut with the sister LCR Hondas of Alex Rins and Takaaki Nakagami ending the day 13th and 15th respectively.