Round three of the 2021 MotoGP season will see Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci race at the Portuguese circuit for the first time in Tech 3 colours. 

This should have been Lecuona’s second race for the team at the Algarve International Circuit, but the Spaniard missed last year’s finale due to a positive Covid-19 test. 

The Tech 3 KTM team have endured a difficult start to the season so far, with Lecuona and Petrucci both scoreless from the opening two races.

But with Qatar never really suiting the RC16, a return to Europe should see an upturn in form especially since the team were victorious at Portimao with Miguel Oliveira five months ago.

Lecuona is not completely new to the Portimao layout as he competed there in 2016, but the 21 year-old feels ‘like a rookie’ heading there due to it being the first time he will race a MotoGP bike around the track. 

It will also be the first race for Lecuona following his arm pump surgery after Qatar, so it remains to be seen what effect it could have. 

Lecuona said: "For me it will be the very first time with the MotoGP machine in Portimao, as I missed the finale last year. 

"Therefore, I’m like a rookie there. I know the circuit from 2016, but for sure, the asphalt is different and the KTM RC16 is obviously a completely different bike.

"After my surgery last Tuesday, my right arm feels better with each day. I’m already starting some exercises with it. I’m looking forward to arriving in Portugal and I’m sure I’ll be close to 100 percent there."

Unlike his younger team-mate, Petrucci did compete at last season’s race but finished just outside the points in 16th. 

Petrucci looked to have made some set up improvements during the second Qatar race weekend, but after finishing 19th with only Lorenzo Savadori behind him, it comes as no surprise that the Italian was unhappy with the result. 

"It’s quite clear that I’m not happy about the result in Doha. I expected to be faster, but it has been only my first race with the KTM RC16," added Petrucci. 

"I gained quite a lot of experience and now I know a little bit better what is going on with the bike and where we still need to work on.

"In Portimao, the bike has been very, very competitive last year. Until we arrive there, I’m working on my shoulder, which is not stable. 

"I will do everything to be at 100 percent in Portimao. I can’t wait to ride there, as the circuit is completely different to Losail. My aim is to improve the bike and my results."