Either he is playing the mistake or Honda is really in serious trouble just two weeks before the start of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship. Marc Márquez, perfectly recovered from his right arm, nothing else that could have been 19th, 1,399 behind the lead held by Francesco Bagnaia, in the first of the two days of the transcendental Portimao test, the setting in which the new season will get under way on the weekend of March 24-26.
The headline of this chronicle has a history (Márquez fourth, but it is Álex…), because it is inspired by one that was widely used in Italy in Rossi’s lowest hours. In GPone you could read from time to time with a certain joke: “Rossi fourth, but it’s Riccardo…”. The good result of a Rossi that all of Italy wanted to be Valentino stood out, but in reality it was the Moto3 rider. Well, now that same pun, without intending to underestimate the good work of Álex Márquez with the Ducati, serves to understand that the great idol of the Spanish fans, who is really expected, is not there at the moment in the positions that he should because of a Honda that does not go, while his brother enjoys the wonders that the Ducati offers to every rider who gets on it.
The start of the Portimao test has once again been a display of Ducati power and a showcase for the miseries of Honda, but also of other factories that are far behind the Italian ones, because Aprilia does know how to join the Ducati party for now. Among the top ten there has only been one motorcycle made outside the transalpine country. It has been that of Fabio Quartararo, who, pulling caste in the final part of the session on the back of his M1, was able to place eighth, 0.843 behind the best time.
The best Honda has been that of Álex Rins, eleventh and with a fairly decent pace that generates even more confusion, because it is hard to believe that the newcomer to the orbit of the golden wing You can put half a second to your leader. And it is that the eight-time champion has been the second worst Honda today on the asphalt of the five that have rolled, because Joan Mir (14th) and the tester Stefan Bradl (17th) have also surpassed him. That is to say, that Marc has only been faster with the same note as Takaaki Nakagami (22nd).
Returning to the head positions, The 1:38.771 of the new champion is a great time that brings him closer to the Algarve track record that he himself has held since 2021 with 1:38.725. That has given him an advantage of 0.234 over Luca Marini, who had already been the fastest in the tests in Valencia, in November, and Malaysia, in February. After those two Ducati, Maverick Viñales’ Aprilia 0.254 from the head and after top gun and until closing the list of the top ten, Álex Márquez (Ducati), Raúl Fernández (Aprilia), Miguel Oliveira (Aprilia), Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati), Quartararo, Fabio Di Giannantonio (Ducati) and Jorge Martín (Ducati). Further back, the aforementioned Rins (11th), Aleix (12th), Mir (14th), Márquez (19th), Pol Espargaró (22nd) and Augusto Fernández (24th).
Raúl’s great fifth place stands out positively, showing that with the satellite Aprilia he is a much better rider than what was seen last year when he suffered with the KTM and with the bosses he had there. By the way, the Austrian brand is as bad or worse than Honda at this point in the preseason, because its best rider at the start of this test was Brad Binder, fifteenth, 1,152 behind the head. And on the negative side, Enea Bastianini’s 17th starting position also stands out, 1,238 behind his partner in the official Ducati box. Tomorrow they will have the option to improve, although it is Honda that must evolve the most, because at Ducati they have their other seven riders in the top 13, with three of them in the first four places. Oh if Marc had a Desmosedici in his possession instead of this Honda…