Marc Márquez completed his first day of qualifying practice this year on Saturday, and the eight-time World Champion was able to move out of Q1 with the best time of the session, progressing to Q2.
During that Q2 run, which came off the back of a positive morning of practice sessions as well as the aforementioned Q1, Márquez was the rider who spent the least time on track. He combined trying to set a strong lap time whilst also conserving energy for raceday. The Spaniard finished the day with a best time of 1:39.121.
Pol Espargaró, who suffered a crash at the end of the fourth free practice session from which he escaped unharmed, finished Q1 with the fourth best time. The Repsol Honda Team rider ended the day with a 1:39.710 hot lap, allowing him to take off from the fifth row of the grid, in fourteenth.
The Portuguese Grand Prix race will take place on Sunday at 1:00pm local time.
“Today we put in a lot of effort. My plan in FP3 was to try to get to Q2, this was the goal today but it wasn’t possible. I really wasn’t expecting to move into Q2 after Q1, but some bike changes to suit my style really helped. The position we are in isn’t real, it’s something amazing but we are realistic and know that the race will be long. The doctors have told me each day I will have less and less power in my arm, but we will do what we can and the aim is to finish the race and see what’s possible. All the pain I have in my arm is on the muscle side which is a positive.”
“I was a bit too fast on entry to the corner and then I lost the rear, when I touched the throttle the rear kept slipping and I had a huge highside in the end. I wasn’t expecting it and it was a big impact in the end, I am quite sore around my hip and it certainly did not help us during Qualifying. I am still struggling to link all the sectors together, when you look at the pieces we can be fast but I still can’t put them together over one lap and this is where we are struggling. Now we need to take some rest and try to be as ready as possible for tomorrow, it is going to be a hard race but we will see what can happen.”