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Francesco Bagnaia ended Friday practice on top at Portimao for the factory Ducati squad to maintain a run of Ducati riders finishing on top of FP2, following the Qatar double-header. The Italian rider beat Doha GP winner Fabio Quartararo, who also saw his final lap cancelled for a yellow flag infringement.
Defending MotoGP world champion Joan Mir – who is operating this weekend without crew chief Frankie Carchedi due to a positive COVID-19 test –slotted into third place, with Suzuki team-mate Alex Rins taking fourth ahead of Ducati’s Jack Miller.
But all eyes were on Marc Marquez’s return to action after a nine-month injury absence, with the six-time MotoGP world champion ending the first practice session third fastest before holding on to sixth place in FP2 despite a frenetic final lap with a hairy moment at Turn 8.
With Maverick Vinales securing seventh place for Yamaha, MotoGP world championship leader Johann Zarco claimed eighth for Pramac despite suffering a bike fire during a practice start at the end of FP2.
Last year’s Portuguese GP winner Miguel Oliveira (KTM) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) held on to the final provisional automatic Q2 spots as Alex Marquez narrowly missed out in 11th place. The former factory Honda rider was however ahead of his replacement, Pol Espargaro.
With MotoGP rookie Luca Marini in 13th place for Avintia Ducati, Aleix Espargaro led the Aprilia charge in 14th despite a tumble to finish ahead of Valentino Rossi, the SRT Yamaha completing the top 15.