Alex Marquez leads first 2023 MotoGP practice from Honda’s Mir

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Gresini Ducati rider Alex Marquez topped the opening practice session of the 2023 MotoGP season at Portimao, leading the way on a year-old bike.

Key moments:

> Marquez makes late soft-tyre push count

> Honda newcomer Mir impresses in second

> Favourites deceptively down the order

> Ducati 1-3-4-5-7-9

Though sunny weather is expected for most of the weekend, a damp track greeted MotoGP riders ahead of the start of first practice – and contributed to the first crash of the official season happening immediately.

Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli was among the riders exploring the conditions early on and swiftly highsided off his M1 at the Turn 8 right-hander, albeit managing to then remount and bring the bike back in.

That fall seemed to dampen the enthusiasm for extensive early running, but soon enough riders hit the track en masse, with Gresini Ducati’s Fabio Di Giannantonio following Morbidelli’s lead by getting chucked off his Desmosedici GP22.

Jorge Martin

Coming into the final minutes of the session, Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin – who has opted for a different aero configuration to start this season compared to the factory team’s bikes – led the way on a 1m39.206s, but by the end he’d been shuffled down to seventh.

This, however, came as several riders made use of fresh rubber, already attempting push laps on the soft rear, presumably in an effort to maximise their position in the classification in case FP2 is weather-disrupted – as the combination of FP1 and FP2 will determine 10 of the 12 riders getting to run in Q2 on Saturday morning.

Marquez was quickest of those to opt for a fresh soft, outpacing several of his Desmosedici GP22 peers – but it was actually a Honda that ran him closest, that belonging to newcomer Joan Mir.

Joan Mir

Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi completed the top four for VR46 Ducati, ahead of Martin’s Pramac team-mate Johann Zarco and the lead Aprilia of Maverick Vinales.

Behind Martin were the champion trio of Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) and Marc Marquez (Honda), all forgoing a late run on a fresh soft rear – though Quartararo did swap to a new front tyre.

With four manufacturers featuring in the top eight, only KTM was left out, with Jack Miller its top representative in 12th – 0.006s behind Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, who had surgery in the lead-up to the opener to address an arm fibrosis but expects to be fully fit throughout the weekend.

The rest of the KTMs beside Miller were well towards the back, with Brad Binder specifically a potentially alarming 22nd given he was 2.2s off the pace and half a second behind penultimate place.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Team Bike Gap Next Gap Leader Best Time
1 Alex Marquez Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 1m38.782s
2 Joan Mir Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.045s +0.045s 1m38.827s
3 Luca Marini Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +0.095s +0.14s 1m38.922s
4 Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +0.096s +0.236s 1m39.018s
5 Johann Zarco Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +0.05s +0.286s 1m39.068s
6 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Aprilia +0.112s +0.398s 1m39.18s
7 Jorge Martin Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +0.026s +0.424s 1m39.206s
8 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.075s +0.499s 1m39.281s
9 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +0.194s +0.693s 1m39.475s
10 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.062s +0.755s 1m39.537s
11 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Aprilia +0.015s +0.77s 1m39.552s
12 Jack Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.006s +0.776s 1m39.558s
13 Alex Rins LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +0.037s +0.813s 1m39.595s
14 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.034s +0.847s 1m39.629s
15 Enea Bastianini Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +0.053s +0.9s 1m39.682s
16 Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia +0.112s +1.012s 1m39.794s
17 Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia +0.1s +1.112s 1m39.894s
18 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +0.165s +1.277s 1m40.059s
19 Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM +0.144s +1.421s 1m40.203s
20 Pol Espargaró GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM +0.268s +1.689s 1m40.471s
21 Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +0.006s +1.695s 1m40.477s
22 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.509s +2.204s 1m40.986s
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