Motor Sports

Marquez impresses despite crash in Portugal MotoGP practice

PORTIMAO, Portugal: Six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez impressed on Friday in practice at Portugal's MotoGP as he continues to get to grips with his Ducati machine.

The Spanish Gresini rider, who moved from Honda for the 2024 season set the third fastest time of the afternoon although later suffered his first crash of the season.

Ducati Lenovo rider Enea Bastianini was quickest with a lap time of 1min 38.057sec, 0.118sec ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory's Jack Miller and 0.153 in front of Marquez.

"It was a good day even if I started slowly because the track was very dirty," said Bastianini.

"It was better this afternoon, so I was able to improve my times and I did a good fast lap."

Defending double world champion Francesco Bagnaia, who eased to victory in the opening race of the season in Qatar, was eighth on his Ducati, only breaking into the top 10 on his final lap and securing a spot in Saturday's second qualifying session.

Heavy rain overnight left the Algarve track dusty, with the first Moto3 practice cancelled.

Marquez was quickest in the first practice session although tricky conditions meant it was slow going and his time of 1.40.484 was eclipsed quickly in the second session.

The 31-year-old slid off his bike late in the second practice on the turn five hairpin, but was unharmed and smiling as he headed back to the pits, having secured his place into Saturday's key qualifying run.

Marquez has not won a race since securing his 59th career win at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in October 2021.

Saturday sees one more practice session before two qualifying runs to determine the starting grid for the sprint race scheduled for later in the day as well as Sunday's grand prix.

Leading practice times on Friday (Q = qualifies for second round of qualifying on Saturday):

1. Enea Bastianini (ITA/Ducati) 1:38.057 (Q)

2. Jack Miller (AUS/KTM) at 0.118 (Q)

3. Marc Marquez (ESP/Ducati-Gresini) 0.153 (Q)

4. Jorge Martin (ESP/Ducati-Pramac) 0.231 (Q)

5. Brad Binder (RSA/KTM) 0.330 (Q)

6. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA/Ducati-VR46) 0.352 (Q)

7. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Aprilia) 0.354 (Q)

8. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati) 0.484 (Q)

9. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha) 0.495 (Q)

10. Alex Rins (ESP/Yamaha) 0.503 (Q)

11. Pedro Acosta (ESP/GasGaS-Tech3) 0.542

12. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA/Ducati-VR46) 0.578

13. Alex Marquez (ESP/Ducati-Gresini) 0.752

14. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) 0.755

15. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Ducati-Pramac) 0.825--AFP

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