Marc Marquez has snatched pole position for the first race of the 2023 MotoGP season, in Portugal. He will be joined on the front row by reigning champion, Pecco Bagnaia, and Jorge Martin. 2023 is the first season to include Sprint Races, giving this qualifying session even more importance.
The 2023 MotoGP season may be starting with a new-look format, but there is a familiar name at the front of the grid after qualifying in Portugal. Marc Marquez, after coming through Q1 to then struggle in Q2, came from nowhere to lay down just one flying lap that took him from 12th to 1st. He set a lap time of 1:37.226, which is a new lap record for the circuit. With a Sprint Race later this afternoon, Marquez has given himself two pole positions for the weekend as qualifying sets the grid for both the spring and main races.
Joining him on the front row will be our reigning champion, Pecco Bagnaia. He was in the mix for the whole session and spent much of Q2 in provisional 3rd before his final lap saw him temporarily take pole position. Jorge Martin and his Prima Pramac Racing machine will line up in 3rd after a strong session.
Miguel Oliveira, who also had to make his way up through Q1, will start both of this weekend’s races in 4th, with Jack Miller in 5th. The Australian rider will be disappointed with 5th after spending the first half of the session in provisional pole. He then crashed at Turn 3, with 3 minutes left on the clock, and wasn’t able to fight back from there and was shuffled back to 5th as others riders were able to improve.
Enea Bastianini, who helpfully gave Marquez a tow that helped him to secure pole, will line up in 6th, ahead of Maverick Vinales in 7th and Marco Bezzecchi in 8th. The top 10 will be completed by Luca Marini and Johann Zarco in 9th and 10th.
It was a difficult day for Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro, in 11th and 12th respectively. Quartararo was consistently off the pace throughout Q2 and ended the day a whopping 0.694 seconds away from pole. Espargaro, just 5 minutes in to the session, went down at Turn 13 and struggled to recover from there.
Amazing job from @AleixEspargaro to keep the bike running! 👏
Just doing that has given him enough time to get back and have another go! 😎#PortugueseGP 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/ZtLoQ53EmN
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) March 25, 2023
In the previous Q1 session, Alex Marquez and Joan Mir were disappointed to not progress to Q2 after a strong session. Marquez faced a scary moment in the early stages of the session, nearly losing the front of the bike in the final sector but somehow managing to stay upright. The pair will line up 13th and 14th on the grid respectively.
Marc Marquez took a gamble in Q1 by staying in the pits for the second half of the session. He had already laid down a brilliant lap time – a new lap record at that time – and decided to save his tires by watching the final minutes of Q1 from the back of the garage. It clearly paid off as he enjoyed celebrating his pole position with the adoring Portuguese crowd.
Don’t forget, with the new format this weekend, this qualifying session has now set the grid for both today’s sprint race and tomorrow’s main race. Crew On Two will have all the updates you need!
FULL STARTING GRID:
|1||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda|
|2||Francesco Bagnaia||Ducati Lenovo|
|3||Jorge Martin||Prima Pramac|
|4||Miguel Oliveira||CryptoDATA RNF|
|5||Jack Miller||Red Bull KTM|
|6||Enea Bastianini||Ducati Lenovo|
|8||Marco Bezzecchi||Mooney VR46|
|9||Luca Marini||Mooney VR46|
|10||Johann Zarco||Prima Pramac|
|12||Joan Mir||Repsol Honda|
|13||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM|
|14||Alex Rins||LCR Honda|
|15||Franco Morbidelli||Monster Energy Yamaha|
|16||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda|
|17||Augusto Fernandez||GASGAS Tech3|
|19||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Gresini|
Feature Image Credit: MotoGP