Second to Fabio Quartararo on Friday, Francesco Bagnaia will head into qualifying having been quickest in both of Saturday's free practice sessions for the Algarve MotoGP at Portimao.

Iker Lecuona, leaving MotoGP for WorldSBK next season, and then Johann Zarco briefly set the pace before Bagnaia returned on a new medium tyre to retake control.

New world champion Quartararo remained on a hard rear and was shuffled from a early second place behind Bagnaia to an eventual fifth.

Rookie Luca Marini again impressed for one-lap speed by snatching third place as 1.2s covered the entire field!

Pol Espargaro fell early in the session, at the fast turn 1.

Warmer afternoon temperatures meant all three rear tyres - hard, medium and soft - were in use, but the medium remained an almost unanimous choice for the front.

Qualifying 1 - for those outside the top ten after third free practice, including Zarco and home star Miguel Oliveira - will now get underway.

Marc Marquez, winner of the past two MotoGP rounds, is missing the event after still feeling 'unwell' several days after sustaining a 'slight concussion' while training on an off-road bike. Marquez is replaced by test rider Stefan Bradl.

The hard front tyre option has been changed from the disliked asymmetric version selected for April's Portimao round, to a symmetric hard compound.

Oliveira, winner of last November's inaugural Portimao race while using a symmetric hard front, was one of those to struggled badly with the revised tyre allocation in April, when Quartararo dominated the race from Bagnaia and Mir.

Although Quartararo has already wrapped up the 2021 riders' title, with Bagnaia and Mir on course for second and third, Ducati and Yamaha remain locked in a close battle for victory in the teams' and constructors' championships.

Algarve MotoGP, Portimao - Free Practice (4) Results
PosRiderNatTeamTime/DiffLapMax
1Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Team (GP21)1'39.665s14/16334k
2Johann ZarcoFRAPramac Ducati (GP21)+0.060s11/15343k
3Luca MariniITASky VR46 Avintia Ducati (GP19)*+0.095s14/15334k
4Iker LecuonaSPAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+0.171s9/13329k
5Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.333s7/15329k
6Alex MarquezSPALCR Honda (RC213V)+0.400s11/15336k
7Jack MillerAUSDucati Team (GP21)+0.491s6/14338k
8Joan MirSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+0.493s10/16332k
9Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.519s12/13330k
10Aleix EspargaroSPAAprilia Gresini (RS-GP)+0.621s11/16339k
11Pol EspargaroSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+0.672s8/12338k
12Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)+0.698s14/15336k
13Maverick ViñalesSPAAprilia Gresini (RS-GP)+0.753s12/12332k
14Jorge MartinSPAPramac Ducati (GP21)*+0.787s12/14336k
15Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM (RC16)+0.871s12/13334k
16Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM (RC16)+0.904s8/15335k
17Alex RinsSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+0.934s10/14332k
18Valentino RossiITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.969s16/16334k
19Enea BastianiniITAAvintia Ducati (GP19)*+0.983s9/13338k
20Andrea DoviziosoITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.993s13/16331k
21Stefan BradlGERRepsol Honda (RC213V)+1.007s14/15335k
22Danilo PetrucciITAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+1.199s7/13335k

* Rookie

Official Portimao MotoGP records:
Best lap:
Fabio Quartararo FRA Yamaha 1m 38.862s (2021)
Fastest race lap:
Alex Rins SPA Suzuki 1m 39.450s (2021)

By Peter McLaren