Fabio Quartararo narrowly beat title rival for much of 2021 Francesco Bagnaia to top spot during today’s MotoGP practice sessions at Portimao.

The pair showed incredible pace from the outset, and while others got close at times, Quartararo and Bagnaia head into Sunday’s race as the firm favorites.

Although their battle for the championship was a thrilling one while it lasted, on-track fights between the two were at a minimum. 

But with today’s free practice results as evidence that a race-long tussle could be in store, it’s a prospect that new MotoGP World Champion Quartararo is excited about. 

Speaking after day-one, Quartararo said: "I enjoyed today's sessions a lot, because the last two race weekends were more about stress and not making any mistakes than about enjoyment. 

"Now I'm enjoying riding so much again. Even in the time-attack it's been a while since I was able to get that feeling of being on the limit. But I was really enjoying it. It's nice to battle for first in the timesheets with Pecco. 

"Sunday is the most important, but it's nice to see the two most competitive riders of the second half of the season fighting."

Even though Quartararo’s pace was electric, the 22 year-old was unable to get through his and the Yamaha team’s full plan due to high wind affected tyre performance.

"For today, we had planned to try the medium and the hard tyres, but because of the wind it was quite difficult to adapt myself properly, so we need to do it tomorrow instead," added Quartararo. 

"Other than that, we wanted to try a few things on the bike, but to be honest the most important thing was to be back after Misano and check my riding, and I think it was quite okay. 

"The triple crown is not just in my hands, so instead my target this weekend is to fight for the race victory and then we will see what happens, also concerning the team and constructor's Title. We need to at least try to win to secure the triple crown."