Motorcycle Racing

Bagnaia reigns, Quartararo gains – the tale of Day 2

Bagnaia reigns, Quartararo gains – the tale of Day 2

Pecco, Zarco, Quartararo, Marini… the list of lap time heroes goes on as pre-season comes to a hectic close at Portimao

Another day, another set of timesheets… and the last one before we go racing! The final day of pre-season is in the books and there’s a new fastest ever lap of the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, with reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) absolutely smashing his old lap record and bringing it down to a stunning 1:37.968. But he wasn’t the only one under the old 1:38.725, with an incredible 12 riders ending 2023 pre-season with a quicker lap than that.

At the top, the first on Bagnaia’s tail was Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) as he unleashed a time attack on Sunday, not into the 1:37s but seemingly taking a big step forward. Just 0.038 behind him came another rider who took a leap forward on the final day of pre-season, with 2021 Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) taking third and looking a whole lot happier by the end of play than he had 24 hours earlier.


Bagnaia smashed his own all-time lap record and then put in a MotoGP™ Sprint simulation that raised eyebrows up and down pitlane, with most laps under the old best race lap. That was a Jaws music moment before Quartararo was able to get a lot closer, and then Zarco split the two 2022 Championship rivals.

Bastianini struck late to move up significantly compared to a lacklustre showing on the timesheets on Saturday, having not put in a real hot lap before. He ends the test in sixth, but will most definitely want to reel his teammate further in once the Portuguese GP begins. There was little new to see at Ducati, with focus seemingly having shifted to really dialling in what they’ve tested… barring one small new lever spotted by our pitlane reporters, currently cause for curiosity.

Zarco was the closest challenger to reigning Champion Bagnaia, moving up later in the day to depose compatriot Quartararo from second. Zarco appears to have found some long run pace, and said he was back on fettling his own setup rather than running through any testing for the factory. Teammate Jorge Martin was also looking good, and he ends the test in P8 after again running the ”ground effect” fairings as he did…

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