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Alex Marquez starts the season with fifth place in Portugal

The Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider surprised in his debut with Ducati, with Alex Rins and Joan Mir scoring points positions in their first outing with Honda. Crashes for Marc Marquez and Miguel Oliveira. 
Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team), Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP), Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) and Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team) raced this Sunday the Portuguese Grand Prix at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, round one of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship in 2023.
The MotoGP™ World Championship will have a new calendar with 21 rounds and a new format with only two practice sessions on Friday to decide the qualification to Q2, while introducing Sprint Race on Saturday afternoon (50% of the laps of the usual Sunday race) and half points.
Alex Marquez finished just off the podium after leading two practice sessions, with Joan Mir and Alex Rins 10th and 11th, respectively, after starting from intermediate positions. Marc Marquez and Miguel Oliveira both crashed in a race that was won by Italian rider Pecco Bagnaia on a Ducati.
Next round of the MotoGP World Championship will take place at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit on April 2nd with the Gran Premio de la Republica Argentina.
Saturday race: 3rd, + 1.517 / Sunday race: DNF

Conditioned by the red flag on Friday, Marc led Q1 on Saturday and earned his place in Q2. Then he took the 64th pole position of his MotoGP career with a lap time of 1’37.290.

 In the first Sprint Race of the season, a 12-lap outing on Saturday afternoon, Marc took a superb third place behind winner Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin.

 Having set the second fastest time in the warm up, Marc started Sunday’s race in the leading group, but on lap 3 he made a mistake at turn 2 and dragged Miguel Oliveira in his crash. Marquez runs now 11th in the championship with 7 points.

“I fully accept and respect the penalty of the double long-lap during the Argentina GP; I did a mistake”

“First of all I want to say that I am very sorry to Miguel Oliveira, his team and the Portuguese fans because it was his race. I did a really big mistake today, of course it was not my intention to have this happen, my intention was not even to overtake Martin at that point, but I had a massive lock with the front. Maybe the hard front was not fully up to temperature, I released the brakes and the bike went inside. I avoided Jorge Martin but made contact with Oliveira. I straight away went over to Miguel Oliveira and then in the medical centre I went to check on him – fortunately it looks like he is OK and this is the most important thing. On my side I have some pain in my right hand and with my knee but this is not so important at the minute. I fully accept and respect the penalty of the double long-lap during the Argentina GP because I did a mistake.”
Miguel Oliveira
Saturday race: 7th, +2.940 / Sunday race: DNF
Despite a crash in Q2 that left him with a bad bruise on his left ankle, his second place in Q1 got him through to Q2. In Q2 he set a lap time of 1’37.585, 4th on the grid for Saturday and Sunday’s races.
 Miguel thrilled his home crowd with a great fight for the podium in Saturday’s race, which was only frustrated by a run off the line on the last lap, finishing in 7th place.
 In Sunday’s race Oliveira was running in the leading group until lap 3, when he was dragged by Marc Marquez in the Spaniard’s crash. Miguel runs 16th in the championship with 3 points.
“Today we had a clear opportunity to score a first podium”

“Today was a shame, obviously to end my home Grand Prix in just two laps was not something I expected. However, we can still be proud on the progress we made throughout this week. We had a difficult day on Friday and then to do Qualifying like how we did it yesterday and to almost have the podium in hand on the last lap in the Sprint Race was amazing. We had a good start today, to lead and then coming second, I think there was a clear opportunity for us to score a podium. I’m still very bruised on the right side of my hip from the crash, hopefully I can do everything I can do be fully fit for Argentina next weekend.”
Joan Mir –
Saturday Race: 13th, +11.288 / Sunday Race: 10th, +10.291

Making progress on the set-up of his new bike, Rins improved session by session and took 6th place in Q1 (1’38.133) to move up to 16th on the grid for Saturday and Sunday’s races.

 Saturday afternoon’s race ended with Alex crossing finish line in 13th position on his new bike, but there were no points for him, as only top ten riders are awarded.

 On Sunday’s race he started in the top ten, lapping twelfth at the halfway point of the race. Then he crossed finish line in 10th, running now 12th in the championship with 6 points.

“We have improved a bit, but we’re still lacking something”
“It was a learning weekend. Today before the start of the race we set ourselves the target of being in the top 10 and we were, but I was a bit frustrated because I couldn’t overtake. A rider overtook me and I couldn’t defend myself. When Fabio [Quartararo] overtook me, I tried to go with him and ride fast and that’s more or less how it went. I was lapping in the low 1’39s and mid 1’39s, but that’s no good for me. As I said, I had a hard time overtaking and that’s the reality. We’ve improved a bit compared to yesterday in the sprint, in terms of electronics and bike management, but we’re still lacking something”.
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