Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro each topped a Free Practice session on the opening day of running in Portugal. The typical sunshine replaced with rain and gusty winds.
As forecasts had predicted. Rain swept across the Portimao circuit throughout Friday and wet both practice sessions.
The Repsol Honda Team were able to show their speed in Free Practice 1 and 2 as Marc Marquez topped the morning session before Pol Espargaro made improvements to his Honda RC213V to lead the second session.
The wet conditions gave both riders more data on how the 2022 machine behaves in the rain. Having only had brief wet runs during testing and in Indonesia.
With his confidence renewed after a stellar ride in America, Marc Marquez wasted no time showing off his wet-weather ability.
And he quickly set the pace in the morning. Although other riders would improve, the #93 set the benchmark for the day with a 1’50.666. As he enjoyed an immediately positive feeling with the RC213V in the wet. The afternoon saw the eight-time World Champion take a conservative approach and avoid any risks in the increasingly wet conditions.
Sensations were equally as positive on the other side of the Repsol Honda Team garage when Friday ended. Although struggling down in 17th during Free Practice 1. Pol Espargaro and his team were able to turn their Friday around in the second session. To lead with a 1’50.707 and cement a 1-2 for the Repsol Honda Team.
Espargaro was just three riders to improve in the afternoon and the only rider in the top ten to set a faster time. After a solid start to the weekend. Espargaro feels positive and aims for more of the same.
Weather forecasts remain mixed for Free Practice 3 tomorrow morning. But every rider will be pushing to improve their times regardless of the conditions. Both Marquez and Espargaro aim to continue this early form irrespective of what becomes of the weather.
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“I am happy overall with how today went. It was a solid day. From the start, the feeling was good in the wet, sometimes you go out, and you don’t feel good but today was not like that. Even in the afternoon, I felt OK with the used tyres of the morning, and the lap time came quite easily. Then there was a lot more rainfall and more water on track in the afternoon session.
So I preferred to stay in the box to avoid the risk of a crash, especially since it looked like it would be dry on Sunday. We showed our speed in the morning. There was no need to do anything more. Now we need to keep this level throughout the weekend, with a wet Friday and maybe wet Saturday – it can be a bit more complicated on Sunday choosing the right tyres and setup. But let’s see!”
“It was a tough day, especially at the start. In the morning, I was struggling a lot, and we had some problems with the bike, but as a team, we worked well to find solutions, and in the afternoon, in FP2, we were able to match the speed of Marc and end the session fastest.
It was wetter in the afternoon, but there was still time to find, so I pushed hard at the start of FP2 before more rain came. Damp or dry, it’s essential to start the weekend strongly and carry this speed during the whole weekend. It’s great to see both Repsol Honda Team riders on the top today. Let’s continue it for the weekend.”
via HRC MotoGP