Quartararo beats Bagnaia in opening training

MotoGP is returning to Portugal for its penultimate run of the 2021 season after having to add a second race in the Algarve as COVID-19 forces the cancellation of the Pacific flyaway laps.

The pace on the Algarve track was immediately hot, as the best FP1 time of the Portuguese Grand Prix in April was overcome after just eight minutes of driving.

Suzuki’s Alex Rins – who fought for victory in Portugal in April – was the first to beat the previous FP1 record with 1: 41.997 minutes before Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia topped the list with 1: 41.980 minutes.

Bagnaia occupies penultimate place in the hunt for second place in the overall standings and at the same time hopes to bolster Ducati’s hopes of receiving the constructors’ crown.

Seconds later, world champion Quartararo split the field with 1: 41.481 minutes, although Bagnaia would soon be able to cope with 1: 41.426s again – and improved this to 1: 40.796s with just under half an hour of the remaining session.

About four minutes later, Quartararo would lead his Yamaha back to the top of the ranking with a 1: 40.768s, which should serve as a reference until the final 13 minutes.

As much of the second half of 2021 has passed, it was Bagnaia who challenged Quartararo’s lap again with 1: 40.421 minutes.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bagnaia seemed to be the quickest to finish the session, but Quartararo took the top spot on his final lap with 1: 40.192 minutes, displacing the Ducati rider by 0.045 seconds.

Jack Miller jumped into third place late to round out the top three on his Ducati, with Rins – who debuted a new Dorna Sports shoulder camera in FP1 – at the helm of Suzuki teammate Joan Mir.

Outgoing world champion Mir was lucky enough to stay on his Suzuki about halfway through FP1 when he had a big moment exiting turn 13.

Luca Marini made an impressive start to the race on his two-year-old Avintia Ducati. Pol Espargaro was the factory Honda’s fastest in seventh when teammate Marc Marquez watched from the sidelines this weekend after suffering a concussion in a training incident.

Maverick Vinales – who on Thursday said he was intrigued to return to Portugal to be able to compare the Aprilia to the Yamaha – finished eighth in FP1, 0.661 seconds off pace, with Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli and Aleix Espargaro’s sister Aprilia making the lap rounded off the top 10.

The second best Hondas were Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami from LCR in 11th and 12th, while the top KTM Iker Lecuona took 14th place on his Tech3 run RC16.

Home hero Miguel Oliveira made a cautious start with his factory KTM and ended up in 18th place in front of Andrea Dovizioso from Petronas SRT and behind Jorge Martin from Pramac, who admitted on Thursday that the return of MotoGP to Portimao initially “scared” him. after taking a bad fall back here in April.

Marc Marquez ‘Honda deputy Stefan Bradl was 21st and 1.4 seconds behind the pace, with Misano’s Enea Bastianini (Avintia) taking the podium and SRT’s Valentino Rossi beating him.