Free practice one for the Portuguese MotoGP Grand Prix, saw Qatar race one winner Maverick Vinales top the timesheets, however it was Marc Marquez who stole the headlines as he finished third fastest on his return. 

Track conditions in Portimao were sketchy to say the least following heavy rain on Thursday, with the fastest lap set by Vinales over two seconds slower than Miguel Oliveira’s best race lap in 2020. 

With considerable damp patches around the circuit, many riders stayed in pit lane to begin the session. But as the sun beamed down on the Algarve International Circuit, it quickly started drying out which saw the lap times become increasingly faster.

With every rider improving late on, it was Vinales who regained top spot during his final flying lap, ahead of Alex Rins and Marquez, who initially looked to be heading for first place. 

Although Marquez stressed before the weekend began that he would ‘not be the same Marc in FP1’, the eight-time world champion wasted no time in settling back into the rhythm of things.  

It wasn’t just a great first session back for Marquez, as his return seemed to spark Repsol Honda into life with team-mate Pol Espargaro impressing on his way to fourth position. 

It’s the former KTM rider’s best finish in an official race weekend session onboard the RC213V machine.

In fifth place was championship leader Johann Zarco, who was once again the top Ducati, with former Pramac rider Francesco Bagnaia in sixth. 

Seventh was the Doha Grand Prix winner Fabio Quartararo, who like Vinales was consistently inside the top ten for Yamaha at a circuit that was difficult for the team six months ago.

Rounding out the top ten was Jack Miller in eighth as he showed no effects of the recent arm pump surgery, while Alex Marquez was ninth for LCR Honda, ahead of the top KTM in Danilo Petrucci

 

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