Unlikely to be in the fight for the win, Marc Marquez made an immediate exit from pit lane as he searched for improved pace ahead of today’s MotoGP - hasn’t always been the case in warm-up so far this season. 

On the other hand, pole sitter Bagnaia made an early return to the pits in a bid to conserve energy ahead of a potential shootout between himself and Fabio Quartararo. 

The man with early pace in warm-up was Quartararo as the reigning world champion battled it out with fellow Frenchman Johann Zarco. 

After setting a low 1m 38s time, Quartararo then produced the first sub 1m 38s lap of the day. However, the Portimao Grand Prix winner wasn’t alone as Marquez started race day very strongly. The Spaniard went within a tenth of Quartararo's top time. 

Jorge Martin then went second before Nakagami shot to the top of the leaderboard with a time of 1:37.711s. 

The Japanese rider wasn’t satisfied just with going fastest, as the LCR Honda rider then improved by another two tenths, making his advantage over three tenths to Quartararo. 

Bagnaia did return to on-track action as he positioned himself in P11 with five minutes remaining. The Italian, who set a new all-time lap record in qualifying, then bolted to fifth courtesy of a 1:37.915s. 

After qualifying on the front row, Aleix Espargaro found warm-up difficult to extract the full potential of his RS-GP22. Sitting in tenth spot, the Spaniard returned to pit lane during the closing stages while the rest of the field was out on circuit.  

While no rider found enough pace to unsettle Nakagami at the top, Bagnaia did squeeze into third, as did Zarco with fifth during the closing minutes. 

There was a smokey end to warm-up for Fabio Di Giannantonio, as the Italian’s Ducati looked to have a small problem when doing a practice start along the back-straight. 

Crash.net's Jerez MotoGP Prediction - consistency set to prove too much for Quartararo’s rivals 

Quartararo’s metronomic race pace has been out of this world so far this weekend, and is likely to prove too much for Bagnaia and the rest.

Many riders posted mid to high 1m 37s laps during practice which is expected to be race winning pace, at least in the first part of the Grand Prix before lap times fall back into the 38s, however, those laps have usually been a one-off. Quartararo on the other hand has set high 1m 37s laps for fun.

Add to that the Yamaha rider has crucially not lacked grip even when temperatures rose substantially - a potential chink in the armour others would have been hoping for.

We’ve already seen how hotter conditions affect the likes of Honda, but for Yamaha and in particular Quartararo, no such drop off has occurred. 

Of course, Bagnaia’s new all-time lap record at Jerez could be the confidence boost that not only sees him challenge Quartararo, but beat the French rider come today’s sixth race of the season.

But with Portimao serving as a warning to how dominant Quartararo can be in race situations, plus Bagnaia not having other Ducati's around him to potentially hold off the Yamaha man, odds are Quartararo will begin to stretch his legs as the race goes on. 

Ducati have proven to be one of the best in terms of tyre conservation in 2022, so if Bagnaia can keep pace with Quartararo early, then a late charge is not out of the question.