Alex Marquez fastest on Ducati debut as Joan Mir shines for Repsol Honda in FP1

Alex Marquez claims top spot in the first MotoGP practice of the 2023 season, as Joan Mir and Luca Marini round out the top three. 
Alex Marquez, Gresini Ducati MotoGP Portimao 2023
Alex Marquez, Gresini Ducati MotoGP Portimao 2023

As riders headed out of pit lane, rain flags were immediately deployed as Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia tip-toed through sector one. 

As Bagnaia headed back down pit lane, Franco Morbidelli became the first faller of the season after a huge highside at turn eight. 

Out on slick tyres, Morbidelli was very fortunate not to suffer an injury as he instead got straight back aboard his M1 before returning to his garage. 

Three riders, despite the tricky conditions, remained out on circuit to set a flying lap. Those were Johann Zarco and the Mooney VR46 duo of Marini and Marco Bezzecchi. 

Despite finding plenty of pace on his second and third flying laps, Bezzecchi was unable to entice other riders to join him out on-track. 

As rain stopped with just over 30 minutes remaining, Bagnaia, Zarco, Marini, Jack Miller and Fabio Di Giannantonio were the latest riders to test the circuit’s conditions.

Wasting no time, Miller went nearly four seconds clear of Bezzecchi’s time before Marini went top with a time of 1:44.840s. The factory KTM rider, who is a known specialist when it comes to tricky conditions, then responded to go 1.5 seconds quicker than the Ducati rider.

As Jorge Martin set the first sub 1m 41s time of the session to go quickest, Di Giannantonio’s love-hate relationship with Portimao continued as he suffered a highside at turn five. 

Riding together despite being on different manufacturers, Marc Marquez showed impressive pace to go quickest after getting very close to the rear of Alex Marquez’ Gresini Ducati coming out of the final corner.

But Marquez’s time was soon beaten by Martin, as the Pramac rider set the first sub 1m 40s lap of the weekend. 

Jorge Martin , Portimao MotoGP test, 12 March
Jorge Martin , Portimao MotoGP test, 12 March

As both Marc and Alex continued to show good pace, Martin’s rhythm out front was proving difficult to match. 

Martin remained four tenths clear of M. Marquez before Bagnaia went second with just under ten minutes remaining. 

Several riders then chose to fit new tyres and get a banker lap in, with Mir and M. Marquez both jumping up the order. 

However, the biggest improvement was made by A. Marquez as he went quickest. Marini and Mir then closed the gap but both were unable to beat the former Moto2 and Moto3 champion’s lap time. 

Further improvements came from the likes of Mir, Marini, Bezzecchi and Maverick Vinales, however, none could move ahead of Marquez who ended his first official MotoGP session with Ducati quickest.

Read More