Rookie Moto3 world champion Pedro Acosta was being linked with a 2023 MotoGP seat even before he had completed a lap on a Moto2 bike.

The 17-year-old Spaniard then fuelled expectations further by topping the timesheets at the official Portimao Moto2 pre-season test.

But the opening Qatar race weekend proved more of a challenge, with Acosta up the sharp end in free practice before qualifying in tenth and being forced wide at turn one of the race.

That incident cost Acosta 6-seconds and left him to fight his way from the back of the pack, conjuring memories of his memorable pit-lane to victory ride at the same track in Moto3.

While Acosta made steady progress, he had to be content with twelfth place at the end of his first Moto2 race, 26-seconds from winner Celestino Vietti. The Ajo KTM rider set the eleventh fastest lap.

MotoGP star Jorge Martin, who shares the same manager as Acosta - Albert Valera, best known for his work with Jorge Lorenzo - thinks it'd be a good idea for Acosta to spend two seasons in the intermediate class.

"Maybe two years in Moto2 is I think better because he's so young," said Martin, who also spent two seasons in Moto2 with the Ajo team before leaving the KTM structure for a MotoGP seat at Pramac Ducati, where he won the team's first MotoGP race in his rookie 2021 campaign.

"I think [Acosta's] still not prepared to go into MotoGP, he needs to be ready and he will be ready after two seasons for sure. But for the moment he's still young and he's in the best team and the best place to learn and be ready for the future."

Should Acosta spend another season in Moto2 it would also reduce the pressure on KTM to find him a MotoGP seat or risk losing the youngster to a rival factory.