Portimao in Portugal hosted the first day of practice for the Algarve Grand Prix, the seventeenth and penultimate round of the season, on Friday.
Pol Espargaró got back on the Honda RC213V for the first time since taking his first podium in the premier class at the Grand Prix dell’Emilia - Romagna. The Repsol Honda Team rider registered a best time of 1:39.792, putting him fifth.
This result provisionally positions Espargaró in Q2 on Saturday.
On the other side of the box, replacing the injured Marc Márquez, Stefan Bradl took advantage of this first day in Portimao to regain his feeling with the Honda RC213V. The Repsol Honda Team rider finished eighteenth on the timesheets.
With a best time of 1:40.700, Bradl will need to use FP3 to try to move directly into Q2.
"The conditions today weren’t amazing, there wasn’t a lot of grip and I was struggling honestly. Today we worked on the setting of the bike to make the most of the situation and to be competitive, I think it shows how far we have come since the start of the year. It’s an amazing step when you compare now to the first time we came. Even if I’m not happy with my feeling, we are able to set quite good times and finish in a position that isn’t too bad. There’s still more work to do, especially with the harder tyres, and getting straight into Q2 won’t be easy but we have potential."
"I am content with today, we did a good job overall and we were able to start focusing on some smaller details. Our times are there more or less, with the riders who have been racing all year so this shows our level well. I put in a soft tyre at the end of FP2 but it didn’t help us too much. We keep on working, it’s great to see the Honda going so well here with Pol, Alex and Taka all challenging at the front."