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MotoGP Portimao: Marquez commands wet first practice

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez dominated the opening MotoGP practice at Portimao with a 1’50.666 lap in the final seconds.

A similarly late charge from Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir claimed second with Mooney VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi the leading Ducati, in third.

Free practice kicked off in cold and wet conditions after heavy morning rain with track temperatures registering just 12℃. Marc Marquez setting the initial 1’57 benchmark on the Repsol Honda before his younger brother took charge and the times began to tumble.


Home talent Miguel Oliveira set the pace next time around, with a 1’53.035, Marquez trailing half second back with Takaaki Nakagami rounding out the top three on the LCR Idemitsu machine. Championship leader Enea Bastianini headed a Ducati train with Pramac’s Johann Zarco, Jorge Martin and factory rider Pecco Bagnaia in quick succession before the Italian leapfrogged the group to sit third with his fourth effort. Oliveira and Marquez continuing to battle for overall honours with KTM’s Brad Binder joining the fun, in fourth.

Bagnaia took charge after ten minutes of action thanks to a 1’51.739 with Marquez fending off the Ducati’s of Zarco and Jack Miller. Oliveira dropped to fifth ahead of Nakagami and Bastianini with Pol Espargaro, Alex Marquez and Binder completing the top ten.

Miller bettered his teammate next time around as Nakagami did likewise on his HRC captain. The LCR rider caught out and suffering a turn nine crash on his next personal best.

Midsession improvements found Monster Energy’s Franky Morbidelli running inside the top ten, and fastest Yamaha. Teammate Fabio Quartararo leading WithU RNF’s Andrea Dovizioso in 16th and 17th, with Darryn Binder 24th, just Aprilia wildcard Lorenzo Savadori behind and yet to set a time.

Maverick Viñales claimed eighth at the halfway stage, Aprilia teammate and Argentina winner Aleix Espargaro struggling in 22nd behind the two Suzukis of Alex Rins and Joan Mir.

Mooney VR46 Ducati’s Marco Bezzecchi hit the top with a 1’51.136 with 20 minutes left on the clock. Marquez and Oliveira less than a tenth behind as the factory 22-spec Desmosedici’s sat fourth and fifth and the second Red Bull KTM of Binder held sixth, half a second back.

Mir advanced to ninth as the final ten minutes began, Rins circulating six places back and four-tenths adrift as Bastianini promoted the Gresini back into the top seven. Turn eight caught out Miller as Martin jumped him in the standings and the pace began to pick up.

Remy Gardner swept his Tech3 KTM through to tenth with five minutes to go, the rookie running just six-tenths off the outright pace and narrowly behind Luca Marini on the second VR46 machine as Marquez claimed the lead once again.

Late session pushes saw Zarco demote the Australian out of the top ten on his way to ninth. Bagnaia joining the Ducati pack in fifth before Mir claimed sixth while Marini hot the deck at turn eight.


Bagnaia’s final charge claimed second, just 0.074s behind Marquez before the time was deleted due to Marini’s yellow flags and he returned to fifth. Viñales pushed to sixth with Mir taking charge overall before the Repsol rider improved further, finding the flag unbeaten with the first 1’50 effort of the day. Quartararo completed the morning down in 18th ahead of teammate Morbidelli and last race podium sitter Rins.

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