Marc Marquez put together a strong Saturday at Portimao to secure a second row start on his return, while Repsol Honda teammate Pol Espargaro escaped a serious injury from a vicious highside as he struggled on Sunday wants to regroup.
The Saturday in Portugal was driven under ideal conditions, the sporadic rain showers of the previous day were exchanged for clear blue skies. This resulted in a busy Free Practice 3 session as everyone tried to improve their times for a spot in the second quarter. Both Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez made good progress with Espargaro in the top ten and Marquez only a few tenths less as the session ended. A red flag, the result of a fall for Jorge Martin, meant that both riders on the Repsol Honda Team failed to improve their time in the restarted five-minute session and entered the first quarter later in the day.
Marc Marquez displayed his trademark style throughout the day as he and his team collected data for Sunday and continued to examine his physical condition. Free practice 4 was a particularly fruitful session with 15 laps driven and a ninth place in the session. In the first quarter, Marquez was back in attack mode when he chased one of the two transfer points. Marquez ousted the competition with a 1’39.253, his fastest lap of the weekend to date, and fought for the top 12. At the end of practice, Marquez only drove one run in the second quarter and drove the sixth-fastest time with a 1’39.121, by one Securing start in the second row on his MotoGP return.
It was a bloody Saturday in the Algarve for Pol Espargaro when he was thrown from his RC213V in Free Practice 4. The Highside ended their session early and had severe hip pain, but Espargaro kept fighting to fight in the first quarter. Despite the pain, Espargaro was able to finish fourth in the session and will finish 14th on the grid for the race on Sunday. Sector times remain promising for what Espargaro and the Honda can do. With the aim of getting a good night’s sleep, Espargaro and his team are ready to see what tomorrow will bring.
The race starts on Sunday, April 18th at 1:00 p.m. local time after the Moto3 race. With over 25 laps, the Grande Prémio de Portugal becomes another exciting affair with big names looking for ground across the field.