Marc Marquez surprised even himself as he secured a record-breaking pole and converted it into a history-making podium in the first MotoGP Sprint.
Saturday, March 25, saw history made as the MotoGP World Championship contested its first ever Sprint race. The morning started with pure excitement and elation for the Repsol Honda Team as Marc Marquez went through Q1 with just a single run, bettering the lap record set by Jack Miller the previous day. This was the converted into a truly spectacular performance in Q2 as Marquez again improved on the lap record to take a sensational pole position. Repsol Honda Team teammate Joan Mir narrowly missed out on the second transfer spot and secured 14th on the grid for his MotoGP debut on the Honda RC213V.
Tension filled the air as the MotoGP class lined up for the Sprint race, an incredible 12-lap contest awaiting them. From pole position, Marquez got an explosive start as he and his Repsol Honda Team RC213V rocketed off the line to lead the first lap. Defending well for the opening laps, the #93 was able to maintain his position in the leading group and waited as the riders ahead battled. In the final moments of the race, Oliveira and Miller opened a gap and the eight-time World Champion was able to attack – moving up into third.
With his 64th premier class pole, Marquez’s 1’37.226 set a new outright lap record around the Portuguese circuit. This is Marc Marquez’s first pole position since the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix and his first pole in dry conditions since the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix – some 1,253 days ago. Marc Marquez heads into Sunday with seven World Championship points, third in the World Championship standings.
From 14th on the grid Mir was immediately locked into a tense battle with the riders around him. Recovering positions and already showing a pace faster than those ahead, the #36 began to pick his way forward and passed several riders on the opening lap. Unfortunately Turn 13 would see Mir’s race come to an end as he lost the front, colliding with Fabio Quartararo as a result.
Racing continues tomorrow, Sunday March 26, as the Portuguese Grand Prix is scheduled to run at 15:00 Local Time. This will be a full-distance race, 25 laps where Marc Marquez will again start in pole position.
“Well, today was really a surprising day but it was a great day, it helped to restore a lot of confidence for myself and the team. Starting with the pole, honestly, I don’t know how I was able to find this time – it was much faster than I had been before. It’s a good advantage to start from pole position and we were able to fight in the Sprint race. When I saw Oliveira and Miller go wide, I knew this was my chance and I attacked. The new format is very demanding, but I think this short race was a good show for the fans. Tomorrow is what really counts and will show where we are more I think.”
“Starting in 14th is a lottery, you have a lot of riders around you who are very eager to recover positions as quickly as possible. It was a very aggressive start to the race because of this, I think if we were starting up higher then we could show our true pace. We have good pace for the race tomorrow, so this makes me feel more confident if everything is more calm at the start. I also want to apologise to Fabio for the contact.”
- From Repsol Honda Team