Marquez secures first MotoGP pole of 2023 after stunning new lap record

Marc Marquez saved his best till last after closing out the opening qualifying of the new MotoGP season with pole position. 
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda MotoGP Portimao 2023
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda MotoGP Portimao 2023

With other riders struggling to go underneath the 1m 38s barrier on their opening lap, Jack Miller instead set a new all-time lap record to go fastest. 

Inside the top five to begin his second flying lap, Aleix Espargaro brought out the yellow flags after a fall at turn 13. 

Despite having just one bike available to him after his crash in P3, Bagnaia was pushing hard as he went second behind former teammate Miller. 

Marini, who also crashed in P3, then joined Miller and Bagnaia on the provisional front row. 

While he remained fastest, Miller’s new lap record was coming under increasing pressure as Jorge Martin went second - +0.081s down on the Australian. 

Miller’s time was eventually beaten by Bagnaia, after the world champion set a blistering new lap record at the beginning of his final stint.

Further red sectors were coming in repeatedly from other riders, but no one was able to dislodge Bagnaia until Marquez produced one of the best laps of his career.

In the tow of Bastianini, Marquez continued to close on the Italian as the lap went on before, clocking a time of 1:37.226s. 

Marquez advance from MotoGP Q1 with new all-time lap record at Portimao

Unable to match his new teammate for much of the weekend, Marc Marquez began Q1 following Joan Mir.

Also part of a heavy-hitting list of riders looking to advance to Q2 were Alex Marquez, Alex Rins and home favourite Miguel Oliveira. 

On lap that was set to nudge his older brother off top spot, A. Marquez bailed out of his lap at turn ten after locking the front on corner entry. 

Continuing to struggle with a neck injury from the two-day test, Brad Binder was looking anything but the ‘Binder’ we’ve come to expect, as he instead languished towards the bottom of the leaderboard. 

Then came a surprise as M. Marquez, who was quickest by three tenths, felt as though his lap was good enough to secure a Q2 spot and elected to stay in pit lane. 

As improvements continued to come in by several riders, including Binder who gritted his teeth to finish fifth, A. Marquez and Oliveira were the two on a charge.

Marquez jumped ahead of Oliveira as he looked set to break Portuguese fans’ hearts, however, the RNF Aprilia rider was not to be denied as he claimed P2 on his final lap.

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