Fastest in FP1, fastest in FP2 – a perfect Friday for the flying Frenchman sees him fend off Bagnaia and Miller in the Algarve
It was a very impressive opening day of action at the Grande Prémio Brembo do Algarve for 2021 World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). After claiming P1 in FP1, the flying Frenchman topped FP2 with a 1:39.390 to beat Francesco Bagnaia by 0.132s, with Jack Miller making it two Ducati Lenovo Team machines in the top three.
No letting up for the new Champ
Conditions were perfect in both FP1 and FP2 at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve on Friday, as three Hondas were able to get themselves into the top six on the combined times by the time FP2 had reached the halfway point – Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) sat P4 ahead of Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). However, the top three from FP1 remained unchanged – Quartararo, Bagnaia, Miller – both in terms of position and time.
With 16 minutes left on the clock, a change at the top occurred. Bagnaia slammed in a 1:40.007 to leapfrog Quartararo into P1, the Italian’s advantage was now 0.185s. The final 10 minutes then reared its head and, as usual, soft rear Michelin tyres and grabbing a top 10 slot was the name of the game. Mir became the first rider to dip below the 1.40 bracket, and the 2020 World Champion went even quicker on the next lap.
Miller then went top, but Quartararo immediately shoved the Australian down to second. Pecco was able to string a personal best lap of the day together on his final effort, but the Italian couldn’t do anything from stopping the new World Champion from cementing Day 1 honours.
Mir in touch, intense battle for the top 10
Mir eventually slipped to P4 on the combined times as Quartararo, Bagnaia and Miller went quicker in the closing stages, but it was a positive day at the office for the Spaniard. The number 36 heads into Saturday just a couple of tenths down on Quartararo, as fifth place Pol Espargaro leads the Honda charge. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) was P13 in FP1 but the Frenchman climbs his way into the top 10 in FP2 – P6 for Zarco.
Alex Marquez enjoyed his Friday on the rollercoaster, the Spaniard heads compatriot Aleix Esaprgaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and teammate Nakagami in P8 and P9 respectively, with P10 – the final provisional automatic Q2 spot – going to Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar).
MUST-SEE: Shoulder Cam and its incredible on-track footage
The top 15 riders are split by less than a second so far in Portimao, with home hero Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) struggling down in P19 in front of the Portuguese faithful.
Tune into the ever-important MotoGP™ FP3 session at 09:55 local time (GMT+0) to see who will be able to book their place in Q2.
Top 10 combined:
1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – 1:39.390
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.132
3. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.221
4. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.290
5. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.402
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.499
7. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) + 0.652
8. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.679
9. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.732
10. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.786