Portuguese MotoGP: Vinales tops FP1 as Marc Marquez marks return in third

Maverick Vinales led opening practice for the MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix as Marc Marquez completed the top three on his return to action following a nine-month injury layoff.

Portuguese MotoGP: Vinales tops FP1 as Marc Marquez marks return in third

Friday’s FP1 in Portugal marked the first time in 265 days six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez started an official MotoGP session, having suffered a serious arm break in the 2020 season-opener at Jerez.

Overnight rain left the Algarve circuit damp in places, which meant lap times started at around 15 seconds slower than the benchmark laps from last year.

As conditions continued to improve, so did the session-best laps, with a number of riders taking turns leading the timesheets.

Yamaha’s Vinales took over from reigning world champion Joan Mir with 16 minutes to go with a 1m44.777s, which he improved on his following tour to a 1m44.334s.

Francesco Bagnaia moved his factory Ducati ahead of the Qatar GP race winner with a 1m44.239s moments later, before Vinales dipped under the 1m44s bracket with a 1m43.544s.

The timing screen continued to light up as the opening 45-minute session of the weekend drew to a close, the returning Marquez serving a brief stint at the top of the pile with a 1m43.544s.

The Honda rider remained fastest for all of 10 seconds, before Bagnaia blasted his effort away with a 1m42.934s.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Amidst the flurry of laps at the end of the session, Marquez looked set to steal all the headlines when he shot back to the top of the order with a 1m42.378s on his final effort.

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But faster laps for both Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Vinales denied this, the Yamaha rider setting the pace at 1m42.127s to lead Rins by 0.151s.

Marquez held onto third, 0.251s off Vinales’ pace ahead of Honda team-mate Pol Espargaro, while championship leader Johann Zarco was fifth on his Pramac Ducati.

Bagnaia was shuffled back to sixth at the end ahead of Fabio Quartararo on the sister works Yamaha and Jack Miller on second factory team Ducati – the Australian fresh from arm pump surgery last week.

Alex Marquez was ninth on the LCR Honda ahead of Tech3 KTM’s Danilo Petrucci, who revealed on Thursday he suffered a dislocated shoulder last month in Qatar.

Valentino Rossi was 11th on the Petronas SRT Yamaha, while champion Mir was 13th for Suzuki ahead of the other SRT bike of Franco Morbidelli.

Last year’s Portugal race winner Miguel Oliveira made a low-key start to his home weekend in the iffy conditions down in 17th on the factory team KTM, while team-mate Brad Binder rounded out the 22-strong field.

FP2 will get underway at 2:10pm local time.

MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix - FP1 results

Cla Rider Bike Laps Time Gap
1 Spain Maverick Viñales Yamaha 15 1'42.127  
2 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 18 1'42.278 0.151
3 Spain Marc Marquez Honda 14 1'42.378 0.251
4 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 12 1'42.382 0.255
5 France Johann Zarco Ducati 20 1'42.443 0.316
6 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 20 1'42.464 0.337
7 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 14 1'42.528 0.401
8 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 18 1'42.536 0.409
9 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 14 1'42.781 0.654
10 Italy Danilo Petrucci KTM 12 1'42.957 0.830
11 Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha 19 1'43.013 0.886
12 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 13 1'43.036 0.909
13 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 15 1'43.060 0.933
14 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 21 1'43.243 1.116
15 Italy Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 17 1'43.539 1.412
16 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 19 1'43.702 1.575
17 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 18 1'44.000 1.873
18 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 15 1'44.602 2.475
19 Spain Iker Lecuona KTM 20 1'44.967 2.840
20 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 14 1'45.325 3.198
21 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 10 1'45.335 3.208
22 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 17 1'47.774 5.647
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