Local hope Miguel Oliveira ensured he stayed on script in the first ever MotoGP free practice session to be held in Portimao as he topped FP1 for the Portuguese MotoGP.
An almost entirely new venue for much of the grid given most riders were only permitted the opportunity to test the circuit last month aboard superbike machinery, that was of no concern for Portguese rider Oliveira who is well accustomed to Portimao’s unusually undulating layout.
And so it proved, Oliveira saving his best for last to pump in the quickest time for the Tech 3 KTM squad with a 1m 40.122secs lap.
An extended 70mins session to give riders a chance to acclimatise to putting down MotoGP power around the circuit, Oliveira’s last moment dash for the top spot came at the expense of Maverick Vinales, who will nonetheless be satisfied to be at the sharp end on the factory Yamaha.
Not unexpectedly, those who have prior experience of Portimao would hit the ground running with Aleix Espargaro and Lorenzo Savadori – who could test on their Aprilia RS-GPs last month by virtue of the concessions given to the Italian team – following up in third and fourth respectively.
New champion Joan Mir kicked off his weekend with the seventh fastest time, ahead of his former title rival Fabio Quartararo, while Takaaki Nakagami and Stefan Bradl rounded out the top ten in what is a positive start to proceedings for Honda.
Similarly, Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi were down the order in 13th and 19th respectively, while series returnee Mika Kallio – deputising for Iker Lecuona – bookended the timesheets for Tech 3 KTM in 22nd and last.