Work begins in the Algarve2020-11-20 02:31
A new addition to the MotoGP calendar saw Stefan Bradl challenge for the top spots as Alex Marquez worked to build a base for the remainder of the weekend.
With extended Free Practice sessions at the new-to-MotoGP Portimao circuit, Friday proved to be a busy day for the Repsol Honda Team. Constant sunshine on the newly resurfaced track made for ideal conditions as the MotoGP World Championship builds to end the year on a high. Initial feedback from across the paddock was positive towards the new venue, riders trying to tame ‘the rollercoaster’.
Having had just one test session aboard a road bike, Alex Marquez used the start of the day to acquaint himself with the 4.6-kilometer-long track aboard his Repsol Honda RC213V. 15th and 1.1 seconds behind the fastest time gave Alex and his team a good base to work from as Free Practice 1 came to an end. It proved to be a busy afternoon for Alex Marquez, completing 33 laps, the most of any rider in the afternoon session, as the MotoGP rookie worked to improve his pace and assess the tyre options for the weekend. Ultimately Alex ended the day in 18th overall but within a second of the top time and half a second from the top ten.
Stefan Bradl started the day in tremendous form, leading FP1 for a time and being among the first riders to set a 1’40 lap. This was not fleeting speed however, Bradl backing up his performance with improved pace in FP2 as he again competed for a top five place until the end of the session. Closing out the day with a best time of 1’39.909, Bradl concludes Friday in 11th place and just 0.021s away from the top ten.
The premier class will be back out on track for Free Practice 3 at 09:55 Local Time on Saturday, November 21, before the last qualifying shootout of 2020 at 14:10 Local Time.
“From the test before we were able to learn the layout of the track but when you come here on a MotoGP bike it’s completely different. All the markers for turning and braking are new, and we spent a lot of FP1 working on finding the correct line because we did not really have any references. It’s a fun circuit with some difficult sections to master, but I enjoyed it today. With four front and four rear tyre options there was a lot of work to do, but I feel good after today even if our position isn’t the best. For tomorrow we need to make a step in the morning.”
“I got up to speed very quickly and had a good feeling on the bike. We had two strong sessions today while trying to understand the options we have for the weekend. I’m happy with how today went but tomorrow it will be important, I think we can aim to get into Q2. It was a good feeling to see P1 on my pit board, the feeling and speed has improved with each weekend. It’s a very special track, unique and a lot of points to make a difference.”
Portugal GP Combined Free Practice Classification
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
1 Zarco Johann 5 FRA Esponsorama Racing 1'39.417
2 Vinales Maverick 12 SPA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 0.119
3 Espargaro Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 0.228
4 Quartararo Fabio 20 FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT 0.275
5 Binder Brad 33 RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 0.280
6 Mir Joan 36 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 0.315
Source: Honda Racing Corporation
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