MotoGP Practices in Portugal: A Dusty Start with Marquez on Top

MotoGP Practices in Portugal: A Dusty Start with Marquez on Top



March 22nd, 2024

Heavy rain transformed the Algarve International Circuit into a sandy mess, forcing the cancellation of the opening Moto3 practice on Friday. Thankfully, conditions improved for Moto2 and the highly anticipated MotoGP session, although lap times remained significantly slower than last year's record.

Marc Marquez, fresh off a promising debut with Ducati, dominated the first MotoGP practice with a scorching lap of 1m40.484s on his Gresini-run GP23 machine. Still adapting to his new ride, Marquez acknowledged he's "starting from zero" again this weekend.

Marquez Leads the Way in Dusty MotoGP Portuguese Practice

The eight-time world champion traded the top spot throughout FP1, showcasing his relentless adaptation. He finished a clear 0.165 seconds ahead of Aprilia's Maverick Vinales, who's battling a minor illness this weekend.

Factory KTM riders Brad Binder and Jack Miller followed closely behind in third and fourth, respectively. Pramac Racing's Franco Morbidelli rounded out the top five, completing the most laps (21) during the session. This circuit holds a special significance for Morbidelli, who suffered a concussion here during pre-season training.

The opening stages witnessed a battle against the dust as riders gradually cleaned the racing line. Lap times tumbled steadily, with the lead changing hands frequently. While initially setting the pace with a 1m46.870s (almost 10 seconds off last year's pole), Miller eventually relinquished the top spot to Marquez and Vinales.

Riders Aim to Improve Lap Times

Marquez's effort fell well short of the 2023 pole time of 1m37.226s, which he himself set on a Honda. Brad Binder nearly snatched the top spot with a late 1m40.689s, but ultimately fell to third after Marquez and Vinales upped their pace.

Meanwhile, championship leader Francesco Bagnaia found himself down in 13th on his factory Ducati. Tech3 GasGas rider Pedro Acosta also struggled, finishing 15th.

Honda arrives in Portugal with a bag of new parts to test, following private tests at Jerez with Luca Marini and recent running by Stefan Bradl at Algarve. With the track evolving and riders adapting, the rest of the MotoGP weekend promises thrilling battles as they chase the top step of the podium.

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Image credit of Motorsport Images

tag: MotoGP

Klei Hoxha Author

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