Fastest with a time of 1:50.666 in FP1, six-time MotoGP champion Marquez looked at home in extremely treacherous conditions before backing that up with second to Espargaro in FP2. 

While a sizable gap of six tenths separated Espargaro and his team-mate, Marquez was the most consistent of the two after Espargaro could only manage 14th in the morning session. 

Nightmare start for Ducati as crashes dominate MotoGP practice in Portimao

The Italian manufacturer showed impressive speed across most of its teams, however, falls for Jack Miller (FP1), Luca Marini (same session), Johann Zarco, Francesco Bagnaia and Marco Bezzecchi summed up their troublesome day. 

Miller was the first to crash which occurred at turn eight, before Marini suffered a similar front-end washout. 

In practice two, Bagnaia had an unsavable accident at turn two when he lost the front immediately after touching the brakes. Bezzecchi suffered the biggest fall of them all after losing the rear mid-corner (turn nine) which spat him over the top and consequently barrel rolling through the gravel. 

 

The only non-Ducati rider to crash was Takaaki Nakagami, who also suffered an accident at turn nine. While damage to the Ducatis was visible, especially in the case of Bezzecchi’s Mooney VR46 machine, the same could be seen to an even larger degree with Nakagami’s RC213V which was completely destroyed.

A highside for the Japanese rider left him slow in getting to his feet, while debris was causing issues for oncoming riders such as Maverick Vinales who had to aggressively swerve in order to avoid parts of the LCR Honda.

After demonstrating his frustration with Yamaha due to a lack of bike development, which brought an apology from the Japanese manufacturer, Andrea Dovizioso secured a top three finish in FP2, the first time that’s happened since he returned to action in 2021. 

Under pressure to keep his place in MotoGP, there was also a much improved showing from Alex Marquez who claimed a first top six of the season. 

It wasn’t a great day for two particular riders who have high expectations coming into the weekend - Fabio Quartararo finished neither session inside the top ten, likewise Alex Rins. Quartararo finished 20th on combined times, while Rins was one place back in 21st. 

Free Practice One Recap

FP1 got underway in wet conditions, the first time that’s happened in MotoGP’s three visits to Portimao since 2020. 

Eight-time world champion Marc Marquez and KTM’s Miguel Oliveira proved to be the run-away leaders early on. 

While Ducati came to the party in the shape of both factory riders Bagnaia and Miller, Marquez and Oliveira continued to dominate proceedings. 

That all changed when rookie Bezzecchi went top with 15 minutes to go. 

Not for the first time this season, Bezzecchi showed impressive pace to finish five tenths clear of the next best rookie Remy Gardner (13th). 

Bezzecchi’s time at the top was relatively short-lived though, as Marquez bolted back to the front of the field with ten to go. 

Bagnaia found further performance late on to momentarily move up to second, before Suzuki’s Joan Mir replaced him with an effort +0.010s off Marquez. 

But with the Honda man yet to take the checkered flag, a storming lap was about to be set by Marquez. 

Up by close to three tenths with one sector to go, Marquez found even more time during the final three corners to pop himself top by nearly four tenths.  

Marc Marquez unstoppable if it rains? 

Should rain persist over the weekend (is likely for tomorrow at least) then Marquez will undoubtedly be one of the favourites for victory, not only because of his day-one showing, but overall record in the wet.

The Repsol Honda rider, although challenged at different stages by home hero Oliveira, Miller, Espargaro and the surprise inclusion of Bezzecchi, was in ominous form as he goes in search of a first podium of this season in Portimao.

Aside from crashing out of the last two full wet races he’s competed in - Le Mans 2021 and Austria 2021 - Marquez traditionally has a brilliant record in the rain. 

For what it’s worth, Marquez and Espargaro were the only two riders to set a sub 1m 50s lap.