Portugal, April 23 (IANS) Marc Marquez showed his speed on Saturday in Portugal, setting a lap strong enough to challenge for pole position – unfortunately yellow flags saw the lap cancelled and he will line up ninth, one position ahead of Pol Espargaro for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Weather was once again a major player in the day’s action in the Algarve as morning rain was replaced by a drying track and strong sun in the afternoon.
Marc Marquez was comfortable in all conditions and looked set to put on a classic Marquez performance for pole in Q2, expertly navigating the still drying track. Moving to the top of the time sheets with a 1’42.295 as the session neared its end, the lap time would unfortunately be removed due to yellow flags on track. As a result, the #93 will start from ninth position on the grid with a best lap time of 1’43.575.
Free Practice 3 at the start of the day was again plagued with rain showers and saw just a handful of riders able to improve on their best overall times. Having done the heavy lifting on Friday, both Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro were able to maintain their places in the combined top ten. Unfortunately, during the morning session, Marquez suffered a crash at Turn 8 but was unharmed. Both Marquez and Espargaro sat out the closing stages of the session as the weather worsened.
Espargaro was quickly able to get up to speed on the drying track in Q2 and post competitive times. Electing to stay out for the entire 15-minute session to better understand the conditions, the #44 was pushing hard on his final lap to earn a spot in the top five but suffered a fall at the final corner when he hit a wet patch.
Unharmed in the fall, Espargaro was left hugely frustrated with his final qualifying result of tenth place as both he and the team believed he had much more potential.
Alex Marquez took top Honda honours with a well-earned seventh place having led the majority of Q2 on his LCR Honda machine. Lining up in successive grid positions, the Repsol Honda Team pair will be looking to make the most of the fast-starting Honda RC213V to make up places early in the race. As Marquez showed last race in Austin, the potential is there to come through the field no matter what. Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix will run over 25 laps.