The first two free practice sessions of the weekend were held on a completely wet surface. Constant rain throughout the day caused many crashes and prevented the premier class riders from improving on last year’s times.
Marc Márquez, with a fastest time of 1:50.666, was quickest in FP1 and on Friday as a whole. He managed to navigate the adverse weather conditions to lead the way on Friday at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve.
Pol Espargaró also completed a positive first day of practice. The Repsol Honda Team rider set a best time of 1:50.707, which allowed him to be the fastest man in FP2 and second on the combined timesheets.
Both riders provisionally secured direct entry into Q2.
“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 with the used tyres of the morning, I felt OK and the lap time came quite easily. Then there was a lot more rainfall and there was 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 looks like it will 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 little 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. Wet or dry, it’s important to start the weekend in a strong way 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”.