Marc Marquez takes pole at Portugal GP after sensational final lap, practice leader Jack Miller suffers fall


Marc Marquez took pole position at the MotoGP Portugal Grand Prix after an outstanding performance in qualifying that set a new all-time lap record in the process.

The 30-year-old rose from last in Q2 to pole position in his final lap to cap off two superb qualifying races.

The Respol Honda rider’s sensational time of 1:37.226 was 0.064 seconds faster than Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia, while Jorge Martin of Prima Pramac Racing came third at 0.228 seconds further back.

Portugal Grand Prix

Miller tops Portugal GP practice as multiple riders suffer crashes


Speaking after his qualifying victory, Marquez told BT Sport: “The main focus was on trying to pass from Q1 to Q2, but we have seen that new tyres were quite strong and lap time was good.

“We were so far ahead and we did an incredible lap, but we need to be calm because this afternoon and tomorrow will be very important.

“This gives us an advantage heading into the race. We know that we cannot fight for the podium because we don’t have the rhythm, but we will try to follow the Ducati riders that are very strong.”

Marquez and Miguel Oliveira advanced to Q2 after setting the fastest lap times in an exhilarating start to qualifying in Q1.

It was an ideal recovery for Marquez, who was forced to go through Q1 after going down in the final two minutes of Friday’s practice session.

Marc Marquez, Oliveira, Alex Rins, Alex Marquez and Joan Mir were the big names taking part in Q1, and it looked like being a Marquez one-two, before Oliveira separated the brothers with an outstanding final lap in the first qualifying race. He would go onto finish fourth in Q2.

Oliveira will start the main race at the top of row two, while it was a literal dramatic fall from grace for Friday’s practice leader Jack Miller.

Elsewhere, it was a disappointing morning for Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), who finished 11th and 12th respectively.

It has also been confirmed that GASGAS Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro will play no further part across the racing weekend after sustaining injuries to his back, jaw and lungs in a horrendous accident in Friday’s ’ practice session.

Attention now turns to MotoGP’s first-ever sprint race, which begins at 3pm UK time, where Saturday’s qualifying results will apply, along with the main race on Sunday.

Portugal Grand Prix

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21/03/2023 AT 18:22

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