The Aussie came from nowhere to leap to the top of the timesheets and oust Maverick Viñales for Day 1 honours
After a long wait, MotoGP™ was back in action for the Grande Prémio TISSOT de Portugal, and it was Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) that topped Day 1 of 2023. The Aussie smashed the lap record with a 1:37.746 to put himself ahead of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and the reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team).
After a short red flag stoppage due to technical issues at the circuit during the opening stages of the session, the riders headed back out on track to complete Practice 2. Cold tyres caught out Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing) and Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) early after the session was restarted. Both riders were up and ok, and back on track for the rest of the session.
As the clock ran down the times continued to tumble in Practice 2 for the Premier class. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) set a mid-session banker being the first rider to get below the lap record. With the pace set, the rest of the grid chased down the Spaniard’s lap time. The riders were pushing hard, including the 2022 MotoGP™ World Champion Bagnaia, who had a high-speed moment onboard his factory Ducati, saving it heroically on his elbow as he hurtled through the fast-flowing final corner.
Once the session was back underway, soft tyres were thrown at the bikes and a flurry of fast laps followed, as the riders competed to get into that all-important Top 10 for a secured spot in Q2 ahead of the first-ever MotoGP™ Sprint.
With 8 minutes left of the session “Pecco” took his number-1-plated Ducati to the top spot with an incredible 1:37.856 but it was all she wrote for the Italian after his stellar lap as he swiftly retired from the session.
With Bagnaia out of the session, the timing screens began to light up with just 2 minutes remaining of the session. Miller and Viñales flew into the 1:37 club to put themselves ahead of Bagnaia in 1st and 2nd respectively.
A crash in the dying minutes of the session for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) meant the Spaniard was out of the Top 10 and will have to fight through Q1 for a chance of a Q2 spot. The 8-time World Champion will be joined by his teammate Joan Mir (Repsol Honda) in Q1. Despite a strong Practice 1 bagging P2, the Spaniard failed to finish inside the top 10.
After an action-packed Day 1, the stage is well and truly set ahead of Saturday’s qualifying at 10:50 local time (GMT) with the first-ever MotoGP™ Sprint beckoning at 15:00 (GMT). Make sure not to miss any of the action from the Grande Prémio TISSOT de Portugal on motogp.com!
1.Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – 1:37.746
2. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.037
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.147
4. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.190
5. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.282
6. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 0.306
7. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.403
8. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing) + 0.449
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.544
10. Enea Bastiaini (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.547