Portimão Testing finishes with Defending Champion Francesco Bagnaia on Top

March 13, 2023Steve Rable

Ducati dominance continued this past weekend in Portimão with Francesco Bagnaia fastest in pretesting setting a new track record on day two. Ducati accounted for seven of the top eight fastest in Portimão. Fabio Quartararo broke up the Ducati train going third fastest overall for Monster Yamaha after logging 88 laps on day two of testing. After some early  disappointment with not being able to improve lap times on day one.

Quartararo knew there is more work to do if he is going to earn a result for Yamaha at the Portugal Grand Prix but for now spirits seem high. Quartararo said, “ Today we made a big improvement, especially with new tyres. We’ve tried all aero-packages Yamaha brought here and also some settings from the past that were working well. I’m pretty happy. We are still missing a few things, but we made a massive step from yesterday and from Sepang. We are much closer to be ready for GP1 than we were yesterday, although we are not 100% ready yet. We will be giving our best, for sure. We are not giving up.” His mood seemed to lighten with this post testing tweet.

Quartararo set a 1’39.292s, which was more than 0.3s quicker than his fastest lap on Day 1. At the time it put him in third place provisionally. He then continued assessing aero-packages and race simulations to gather data for the upcoming race weekend. While teammate Franco Morbidelli didn’t have quite as much success finishing 19th after logging 195 laps between Day 1 and 2 of testing; Team Director for Monster Yamaha, Massimo Meregalli had some positive takeaways.

“Today we wrapped up pre-season testing. Because Yamaha had prepared many items this winter, we knew we had a lot on our plate for this final 2023 pre-season test. We only had two days, so we prioritized accordingly. Fabio and Franky both evaluated aero-package options and tried settings we felt are promising for the first GP weekend, held here two weeks from now. Fabio made a big step today, so that’s positive. Franky also tried many things during this test and gathered a lot of data that should be helpful for Round 1. We got a lot of work done, but there’s still more to do. We will now carefully go over the data we collected here, and subsequently draft a strategy on how we will tackle the first GP of the 2023 season. I’m sure the fans are as impatient to get the racing started as we are. We will put in our full effort to be ready to go.

With testing coming to an end social media is in a frenzy of ups and downs, positive team outlooks and some that need to go back to the drawing board as we approach race 1 of the MotoGP season. Ducati remains on top having run fastest in all preseason testing events. However, for some teams Portimão revealed more weaknesses than strengths. One such team is Repsol Honda. It’s clear that Marc Marquez wasn’t optimistic about the direction the RC213V was heading after an early low speed crash however after the final day of testing  he stated:

Marc Marquez on Portimão testing after finishing 14th fastest
“We had the best feeling of our pre-season today, I was riding well and I was able to do a Sprint Race simulation. Riding for a longer run I was able to focus more on my riding style and keep making improvements there. Our rhythm wasn’t bad and today we worked more towards what will come at the Portugal GP. We were able to make a few steps, of course you want more. The most important thing was that today I had the best feeling with the bike so far.”

Photo Courtesy of Honda Racing Corporation

Honda Repsol teammate Joan Mir also shared some words that seems to be a big more encouraging. “Today we were able to make some more progress forward in adapting to the Honda. There is still a lot I need to learn and adapt to because it’s still a new bike and some aspects that are not yet second nature. Overall it has been an off-season of progress but of course as a rider you are always wanting more and more. We head into the opening races wanting to keep improving and to see what’s possible.”

Full Day two testing results can be found below: