Avintia Racing’s Johann Zarco stormed to the top spot in this afternoons hour and 10-minute session setting a 1:’39.417, leading Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro.
Johann Zarco has ended MotoGP’s first day in Portimao on top after setting a new out-right lap record on Friday afternoon.
The conditions were perfect for the second session of the day, however did catch out Suzuki’s Alex Rins who took an early tumble.
As expected, the longer session took a while to get going, seeing soft tyres being thrown in during the final 10-minutes. Zarco fired in the session-topping time seeing him end the day +0.119s clear of Maverick Viñales.
Aleix Espargaro continued Aprilia’s form from Friday morning, finishing the day third, only +0.228s off the fast Frenchman. Espargaro led Fabio Quartararo and rookie Brad Binder while MotoGP World Champion, Joan Mir was sixth.
Andrea Dovizioso delivered a stronger Friday afternoon performance, cementing himself inside the top ten at the end of the opening day. The Italian was only +0.324s down on Zarco.
Pol Espargaro and Jack Miller are both chasing their first Grand Prix win in their final races with their respective teams and ended day one in Portimão in eighth and ninth with Valencia Grand Prix victor, Franco Morbidelli in 10th.
Out of Q2 ahead of tomorrow’s free practice three, Stefan Bradl wrapped up the day in 11th place ahead of fellow Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami, who tucked the front at turn four, injuring his hand.
Free practice one pacesetter Miguel Oliveira slipped outside the top 10 in free practice two, ending the day in 12th, +0.529s off Zarco’s top time.
Cal Crutchlow was another rider to slip down the timesheets in the second hour and 10-minute session. The British rider was only +0.549s slower than Zarco but found himself down in 14th when the flag fell.
Francesco Bagnaia was 15th fastest ahead of Lorenzo Savadori and Alex Rins, while Alex Marquez led Danilo Petrucci and Tito Rabat who completed the top 20.
Valentino Rossi had a troubled day, finishing both sessions outside of the top 15, ultimately ending the day in 21st position with only Mika Kallio behind him.
The Doctor commented at the end of free practice one that he “didn‘t feel very well with the balance of the bike” and clearly failed to improve the set up of his YZR-M1. Rossi also suffered a crash at turn four, halting his progress during the second session.
MotoGP returns to its normal schedule on Saturday with free practice three kicking off at 09:55am.
Featured image: MotoGP.com